‘Connected Healthcare’ is a model for healthcare delivery that uses technology to connect different ecosystem players and deliver care more comprehensively and holistically. ‘Connected Healthcare’ aims to increase the quality of care while reducing the cost of care by maximization of utilization of resources, increased collaboration, and modern technology. It uses tech- nology – often leveraging readily available consumer technologies – to deliver patient care outside of the hospital or doctor’s office, and mobility is one of the key technologies that are being used for building ‘Connected Healthcare’ solutions. Connected health encompasses programs in telehealth, remote care (such as home care) and disease and lifestyle management, often leverages existing technologies such as connected devices using existing cellular networks and is associated with efforts to improve chronic care. Following are few areas where mHealth, as a component of overall ‘Connected Healthcare’, can have bigger impact:
“The Indian government has shown some positive indications to improve the overall status of Healthcare system in the country by allocating increased budgetary funds for building infrastructure for Medical education, and care delivery. To achieve its stated goal of “Health to All by 2020 “ Indian Government needs to spend at least 3 to 4 per cent of the GDP for next few years.”
Home care: mHealthtechnologies & solutions are also helping to provide home care solutions for elderly and individuals living independently, and are providing vital support for patients recovering from acute conditions, including cancer, joint replacement surgery, and pregnancy.
Remote patient monitoring:mHealth solutionscan improve the access to care and to specialized medical services, provide more effective preventive care and better monitoring of chronic conditions, and improved patient outcomes through remote patient monitoring solutions. Healthcareproviders can deliver personalized services to patients and families anytime, anywhere through interactive mobile applications for smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Chronic disease management:A key component of successful care management is engaging patients in their health and wellness. Connected devices & health technologies—from wireless blood pressure monitor that automatically upload readings and text messaging programs that remind patients to take their medication, to virtual visits conducted via video that connect providers to remote patients—facilitate and personalize patient engagement. An mHealth solution based on ‘Connected Healthcare’ principlecan connect all stakeholders in delivering education, information, and support to individuals to improve awareness and encourages positive behavior change.
Clinical Applications: With electronic medical records, remotely monitored patient data, and digital information becoming prevalent, predictive analytics solutions can help healthcare providers to improve patient care, support population health management, and lower costs. Hence, the integration of data from various sources with electronic medical records (EMR) and provider health IT systems and delivering through mHealth solutions will be a key driver in achieving the objective of improved patient care & efficiency of the overall healthcare system
Consumer Engagement: Mobile technology and social media is enabling consumer engagement by meeting consumer need for more empowerment, convenience, and control. mHealth solutions will support provider clinical and financial goals by empowering people with the actionable decision support, convenience, and control they desire. With regard to managing healthcare, mobile technology will empower consumers to take a more proactive approach in assessing their symptoms and selecting providers, accessing healthcare systems, and connecting with care providers for ongoing care management.
One important aspect of mHealth to remember is that if mHealth provides more affordable healthcare with better access and quality, consumers are eager to pay for this value. For this reason, we have seen many examples of rapid adoption of solutions in emerging markets like India that have gone wanting in developed markets. The challenge is convincing the consumer and patient that the mHealth solution provides better outcomes, treatment and value than they would typically receive from traditional services. Consumers may consider paying a premium if they were to save time and effort in realizing their healthcare objectives.
Author – Somenath Nag, ALTEN Calsoft Labs