Information & Communication Technologies


Frost & Sullivan Medical Device Event - Take Aways from Panel on mHealth

by Daniel Ruppar 06 Apr 2012
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There was great attendance and discussion at our event in San Diego around telehealth and mobile health solutions in healthcare. The panel session “mHealth: Are You Ready to Be a Driver of the Future?” featuring executives from Airstrip, Blue Highway, Welldoc, and the Global Hospital Virtualization Program was an exciting one for the conference addressing mobile health, which is of high interest and visibility in the industry currently.

One point of discussion was - why is this now a key point for mHealth in medicine? Airstrip Technologies CEO Alan Portela discussed how with the shift to outcomes based medicine, the shortage in physicians, and increased patients with needs for chronic disease management, physicians must become mobile professionals. With that they need immediate access to needed information and decision support regardless of location in order to be able to manage their patient load. Essentially mHealth has become a mission critical technology to bring data to the caregivers wherever they are, versus physicians having to go to one certain place in order to be able to access information for patient care.

From the panel, another key point in mHealth is getting the health system to fully understand and realize the ROI of the use of mobile technology in the practice of medicine – which is not just about dollars but more importantly is about outcomes. Portela discussed how the real time transfer of EKG information from an ambulance to the hospital through their solution can enable a cardiologist to diagnose and ready the cath lab before the patient presents, and therefore through that faster cycle time, result in better outcomes, less ICU time, and other direct benefits to the patient and system. Blue Highway CEO Al Di Reinzo gave the example of a seizure patient where first responders can have an EEG read remotely, and therefore be able to make more informed medication decisions on-site prior to transfer, resulting in lower patient risk, and better outcomes.

Regarding the continued changes in consultation through mHealth, Danny Petrasek, Director - Global Hospital Virtualization Program, discussed that 50-80% of medical problems can be diagnosed through a conversation, thus presenting an opportunity of a massive volume of care which could be taken on remotely through new options in IT enabled approaches. A shift in increasing remote consultation, especially with the ability to bring diagnosis further in terms of penetration in to the home, brings with it both direct and indirect cost savings.

Overall, the panel did an exemplary job addressing major critical issues in mHealth. Due to the advancements in IT and mobile technology over the last several years, telehealth is now at a point of evolution where it can make a transformative difference in the practice of medicine, as well as business models, to deliver an overall continuum of care through connected health solutions.

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