Secure mobile messaging has become a necessary mode of communication enabling healthcare providers and payers to communicate with their patients, according to Sanjay Govil, an entrepreneur and founder/chairperson of Infinite Computer Solutions (parent to its wholly owned subsidiary Infinite Convergence). Govil notes that the consumer demand for notification must be balanced by the legal requirements for securing medical information.
Mobile health, or mHealth, is becoming more mainstream in hospitals and healthcare providers around the country, according to Jennifer Bresnick in her May 2014 article for EHRIntelligence.com. Bresnick adds that providers are now demanding EHR access on their smartphones and clinical research apps on their tablets.
While providers are still skeptical of developers’ ability to follow through with user-friendly mobile products for the health field, the hunger for on-the-go technology will only grow as clinicians embrace products like secure mobile messaging, patient health alerts, and other opportunities that come with mHealth.
Sanjay Govil, who advocates for secure mobile messaging, explains, “The reachability of mobile messaging makes it part or our daily lives. In today’s data driven world, people expect organizations, including those in the healthcare space, to use this technology to share critical information. The productivity gained by using mobile messaging has made it a critical tool in providing responsive patient care. ”
A poll by MedData Group shows that providers are interested in the time and cost savings that come with mHealth adoption. Among those surveyed, 45 percent cited mobile technology as an
important efficient tool. Secure mobile messaging and information exchanges for patients and providers have proven themselves incredibly useful for military personnel treatment in a program at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Military Medicine Research.
The program, mCare, had the goal of determining whether mobile health intervention for military patients who were dispersed could boost communication and improve treatment. In the journal Telemedicine and e-Health, researchers reported that the pilot project “demonstrated the feasibility and administrative effectiveness of a scalable mHealth application using secure mobile messaging and information exchanges, including personalized patient education.”
The results show that 85 percent of participants would recommend mHealth programs like the one they went through. Patient attendance was also improved by 56 percent. The program offered participants health and wellness advice, treatment announcements, and appointment reminders. Soldiers were also able to exchange information with care teams and other patients. Sanjay Govil asserts that programs like this that incorporate secure mobile messaging will only grow as technology continues to evolve.
Sanjay Govil notes that these organizations must make sure that all personal data used in the mobile messaging applications, as well as the other apps for mHealth, is kept as secure as possible to protect patient privacy. Bresnick writes that privacy concerns remain in light of recent data breaches and questions about mobile security. A majority of providers believe that the current technology isn’t ready for widespread use. Still, the concerns aren’t keeping clinicians from embracing applications and devices that have already proven their value. More than 40 percent of clinicians surveyed by MedData Group would consider using secure texting in the next year and a similar number will use drug, device, or diagnosis information. Nearly half of physicians already use mobile apps to research medication interactions, and more than a quarter use clinical decision support features.
The survey concludes that patients will become an increasingly important part of the Health landscape and mobile devices will be used more and more to access patient portals used for scheduling and communications. It adds that physicians consider mobile technology a way for them to help meet their concerns about modern practice.
With recent studies showing that mobile health is becoming an integral part of the health care industry, experts like Govil expect that more patients and physicians will begin to use products like secure mobile messaging to contact each other and receive treatment for illness and injury.
The success of the mCare program, which ran from May 2009 to April 2011, proves that patients can benefit massively from mobile messaging and mobile applications that connect them with physicians. Sanjay Govil predicts that secure mobile messaging will see continued traction in all industries that have the need to share information while maintaining privacy.
Melissa Stusinski contributed to this article.