Each year people become more and more reliant on their smartphones. In 2011 just 35 percent of adults in the U.S. owned a smartphone, today that number reaches close to 80 percent. The future of our healthcare will be taking advantage of this ever growing trend.
A smartphone has been the primary way to access the internet since 2014. We all know smartphones are used for a lot more than that in this day and age. Communicating, navigating, shopping, reading, listening to music and watching films is just the surface of what people are doing on their phones.
How reliant are people to their smartphones? Consider these facts:
- 1 out of 8 people will not have access to the internet without their phones.
- 90 percent of all social interactions occur over smartphones.
- 90 percent of the public use their phone within an hour of waking up and more than 50 times per day.
- 50 percent of people claim that they could not live without their phones.
Healthcare Industry Onboard With SmartPhones
The healthcare industry is already adapting to people’s heavy reliance on smartphones. Once considered a security and health risk patients are now encouraged to have phones during their doctors visits. Even physicians are now using their phones to help streamline their patients visits.
Physicians using a smartphone to receive lab results have resulted in an average time saving of 26 minutes on visits compared to using their local record system. Using cloud-based storage physicians can use their phones to access test results and x-rays whenever they are needed. This information can shared out and collaborated on by people around the world on their smartphones.
Earlier this year Apple released an update to their Health app that patients could use to securely access their own electronic health record(EHR). By using API’s this application is synced to a hospitals EHR (Allscripts, Epic, eClinicalWorks, etc…) and allows remote access.
The emergence of these type of new applications has encouraged more healthcare facilities to practice bring-your-own-device (BYOD). BYOD simply means doctors and nurses should bring their own smartphone and use them for accessing these applications to improve workflow. This trend is expected to become extremely popular in the next few years.
Smartphones Reduce Costs in Healthcare
Accessibility is not the only advantage provided by using smartphones in the healthcare industry. Phones are saving people money by lowering the costs of healthcare services. Telehealth visits save patients an average of $75 (before transportation costs) over a traditional doctors appointment. Everyday there are new phone apps being released that reduce the cost of healthcare. Kenek Edge Pulse is a $50 oximeter that connects to a phone and provides the same test accuracy as a normal oximeter.
Here are top smartphone apps being used in healthcare facilities:
- Epocrates – App used by doctors for information on prescription drugs, alternative drugs and disease information.
- AirStrip ONE – This app collects patient information from EHR’s, monitors and medical devices for physicians to view in a customizable way depending on their practice.
- Teleon – Healthcare providers use this app to communicate with each other and their patients. In addition to secure messaging, test results and images can also be shared within the software.
- UpToDate – Provides a plethora of medical knowledge for physicians to access and get their questions answered.
The Future Of Healthcare Is Heavily Reliant On Smartphones
No doubt smartphones are going to be involved in all aspects of healthcare in the foreseeable future. The mobility healthcare market is estimated to be worth about $5 billion but expected to climb to over $20 billion in the next couple of years. Phones are a key piece to the $117 billion Internet of Things technology being developed in the healthcare industry.
Future doctors and nurses in developing countries are heavily reliant on smartphones to get their medical training. In the not so distant past this concept would be widely unaccepted. Now people around the world understand how adequate and efficient training on a mobile device could be.
Utilizing smartphones to continuously monitor and record vital signs will soon be the standard. Applications to monitor cardiovascular patterns and brain movements are currently under development. Phones will give patients and physicians greater awareness of real-time things occurring in the body. Smartphones have greatly enhanced the relationships between doctors and patients and the there is still more to come.
On a larger and hypothetical scale health data provided by smartphones could be used by government agencies to protect the public. Using phone applications that provide remote blood tests could update a patient’s EHR’s from their home. Governments can use the data collected to identify areas infected by spreadable diseases and take appropriate measures to prevent an epidemic.