Issues in mHealth

Issues in mHealth
Feb 13

Mobile health (mHealth) sensor devices can help users achieve a healthier lifestyle, share relevant health and nutrition information with health professionals, diagnose health problems, and manage chronic diseases.

 

The benefit of using mobile devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs) or smart-phones to record healthcare information is that patients and doctors can exchange large amounts of accurate data in the blink of an eye.

 

mHealth makes it easier to develop and maintain a healthier lifestyle in developed countries, where PDAs and smart-phones are ubiquitous. The same is becoming true for developing countries where the market for mobiles phones is growing. Experts say that mHealth’s ultimate success relies on the adoption of smart-phones in emerging markets.

 

Though on the surface it’s hard to take issue with devices which do so much good, there are several important questions facing mHealth producers and consumers. The most common of these are privacy and data security, funding, a dearth of information showing the efficacy or cost-effectiveness of mHealth in practice, and the need for more high-quality research.

 

  • Protecting patient privacy in a mobile world

With the rise of mHealth, patients are becoming ever more involved in their own healthcare. But this has an influence on patient privacy – if contact with patients is more flexible and frequent, it cannot always be kept confidential.

 

According to EMC’s recent Digital Universe report, up to 90% of digital healthcare information such as claims requests, PHI, and EMRs require additional protection. Healthcare companies continue to ignore the dangers of the digital environment they occupy, evidenced by the fact that only 57% of data receives adequate protection; that means 43% of data is insufficiently secured. The main task for IT specialists in the healthcare sphere is to balance the recognized need for urgent access to medical data against growing security concerns. Organizations can protect medical data by prioritizing the implementation of additional security measures. Even the simple addition of a button or input field could protect a patient’s data from theft.

 

  • Approval and Standardization of mHealth products

Healthcare is one of many industries for which the cooperation of governmental organizations is essential. For mHealth initiatives to succeed, there must be proven testing and certification processes for devices.

 

In EHR implementations, the additional issue of legal interoperability arises. Different countries may have diverging legal requirements for the content or usage of electronic health records, which can require radical changes to the technical makeup of the EHR implementation in question (especially when fundamental legal incompatibilities are involved). Exploring these issues is therefore often necessary when implementing cross-border EHR solutions.

 

Each healthcare environment functions differently, and often these differences are significant. It is difficult to create a "one-size-fits-all" EHR system. Many first generation EHRs were designed to fit the needs of primary care physicians, leaving certain specialties significantly less satisfied with their EHR systems.

 

In fact, medical professionals using non-customized EMR systems reported negative effects in communication, increased overtime, and the loss of patient records.

An ideal EHR system will have both record standardization and interfaces that can be customized for each provider’s environment. Modularity in an EHR system facilitates this. Many EHR companies employ vendors to provide customization.

 

This customization can often be done so that a physician's input interface closely mimics previously utilized paper forms.

 

That being said, customization can have its disadvantages too. There are, of course, higher costs involved when implementing a customized system, at least initially. When working with a customized system, the implementation team must spend more time ascertaining how to best replicate a healthcare provider’s workflow without inadvertently complicating it.  

 

The development and maintenance of these interfaces and customizations can also lead to higher software implementation and maintenance costs.

 

In order to tackle these challenges most effectively, we suggest partnering with an mHealth software developer with experience creating innovating and secure solutions. Archer Software has shown its aptitude time and time again for creating and deploying mHealth and EMR systems.

 

Archer Software has experience developing effective software solutions for healthcare companies, and has received consistently positive feedback from its clients. You can take a look at our full Healthcare portfolio here.

 

To find out more about how Archer Software can develop the most appropriate software solutions for you, reach out to our experts at info@archer-soft.com.

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