The healthcare industry is moving its focus to the consumerisation of its services through the use of mHealth apps and Internet of Things devices. This is now the norm in the retail, banking and many other industries, as patients demands are met it is now becoming an integral part of healthcare. The view of patients as consumers see hospitals adapting their processes to cater to their consumer’s needs by adopting mHealth strategies.
Consumerisation in healthcare is not only restricted to traditional healthcare practices. Yelp, for example, has moved into the space allowing patients to review hospitals, providing information on ER wait times and costs. As Yelp gives healthcare consumers a voices, other entrants are making specialists sites such as WhyNotTheBest.org and HealthGrades, two sites that let patients compare hospitals, evaluate regions, and judge patient safety.
This increased focus on the consumer demands of patients has led hospitals to adopt mHealth apps on a broader basis. According to a survey by Spok, Inc., 63 percent of hospitals already had a documented mobile strategy in 2016. In 2012, the figure was just 34 percent. Credit for this goes to the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) that encourages hospitals to productively adopt mobile strategies. However, in a survey by Health Data Management, security is a major concern for those lagging behind. A survey of 200 healthcare IT professionals revealed that 92 percent of them considered app security as a major concern while 29 percent were concerned about end-to-end HIPAA compliance.
With mobile apps, hospitals are catering to both patients and doctors with their solutions. These even include some wayfinding apps to aid navigation through facilities. Now over 80 percent of clinicians and doctors use smartphones, these medical apps fit a range of use cases such as accessing and making changes to patient records from any location.
HIPAA audits are due to increase, as Phase 2 of the HIPAA audit program comes into force, the focus is going to be on compliance over education. Given the problems most companies face in securing their mobile apps more rigour will need to be applied to mHealth apps.