Putting Patients in the Driver's Seat

By Chowning Johnson on April 21st, 2011

Mobile health, m-health, mHealth, whatever term you use, chances are you’ve heard a lot about it, even in the midst of all the healthcare chatter from ACOs to EHRs to ANSI 5010. Smart phones have surely spurred the trend and adding iPads to the mix downright accelerated it. According to research from Bulletin Healthcare, for example, providers’ use of smart phones to access medical reference information is up by 45 percent since June of 2010.

Giving providers the ability to access medical information, patient details, etc. in real-time, wherever they may be, is clearly game-changing, but there’s an important part of the story that’s not necessarily getting the play it deserves. Patient interaction. Patients are not just patients, they’re consumers, and, yet, in healthcare the same conveniences provided by other industries are not readily available. Take for example this recent study from the Commonwealth Fund.

According to CMIO’s coverage, only one in five U.S. adults with internet can make a doctor appointment online or communicate with their provider via email. And a mere 14 percent of these individuals can access their medical records electronically. Whether it’s these aforementioned tasks or the ability to view test results, make a payment for recent services, or monitor and track progress related to a chronic illness via your mobile device, the technology is there to cater to patients. Yes, there are a million things to focus on in healthcare right now, but take a step back. At the end of the day healthcare is a service industry and there’s always more we can do to make it easier on patients.