Mobile technologies appear to be critical to the healthcare industry’s shift to patient-centered, value-based care, according to the 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey. Released yesterday at the HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, the online survey finds that 90% of the 238 health IT decision makers claim their organizations use mobile technology to engage patients.
In a press conference, Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS North America, told reporters that with this survey, HIMSS sought “to understand how healthcare organizations are using mobile technology to engage their patients.”
In terms of mobile implementation, 47% of respondents felt mobile technology was a high priority for their organization. Only 18%, however, felt their organization’s mobile technology environment was highly secure.
The chief impediment to implementation is budgetary, according to survey respondents, despite the fact that 54% of them indicated they had achieved cost savings following implementation. Implementing and training caregivers to use mobile technology certainly costs money, but once implemented, it can lead to cost savings and efficiencies.
Twenty-four percent of respondents indicated they achieved cost savings in preventive support care; 23% achieved cost savings through telehealth; 21% achieved cost savings associated with resource utilization (e.g., bed management); 20% saw value across the care continuum (e.g., reduced re-admissions); and 14% saw savings with remote patient monitoring.
mHealth continues to evolve as a tool to drive healthcare efficiencies. The proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3 rule realizes this with the concept of APIs and patient generated health data, and this year’s survey showed that the wide spread availability of mobile technology has had a positive impact on the coordination of patient care,
said David Collins, senior director of HIMSS mHealth Community.
How effective is mobile at engaging patients?
Survey respondents indicated they were leveraging mobile technology to impact patient care. Seventy-three percent of respondents indicated their organizations used app-enabled patient portals; however, only 27% believe these portals effectively engage patients at this time. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed indicated they communicate with patients via SMS text. Again, however, only 27% felt texting achieved engagement.
While engagement remains an elusive target—perhaps because there are so many different working definitions of the term—with 90% of Americans owning a cell phone and 64% owning smartphones, mobile appears to be a great way to reach people with health messages. Of the three most commonly named mobile technologies for patient communication and engagement (i.e., app-enabled portals, telehealth, and text communications), 36% of respondents believe app-enabled web portals are the most effective tool for patient engagement.
Interoperability: The Buzzword of HIMSS 2015
If there was a word cloud based on the conversations I hear on the floor of HIMSS 2015, the term interoperability would be as large as the Willis Tower.
There are obviously numerous moving parts in mobile technology, and discerning which data should be integrated into EHRs is a difficult task. Figuring out how and when to sync the data will take some time as well. In the 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey, 67% of respondents indicated some mobile data is integrated into their organizations EHRs, and 8% reported that all or most of the data generated by mobile devices is integrated into their EHRs.
About the HIMSS Annual Conference
HIMSS is a global, non-profit organization focused on issues related to health IT. As of yesterday, 42,314 attendees had registered at the 2015 annual conference, far surpassing last-year’s record attendance of 35,509.