HIPAA Secure Texting

Is The mHealth Sector Ignoring Coordinated Care Challenges?

November 5, 2015 | Uniphy Health

Despite the rapid growth in mHealth, healthcare organizations are still struggling to identify and deploy mHealth tools that enable them to deliver value-based care. Only a small minority of mHealth tools are addressing the IT challenges preventing care coordination.

The care coordination challenge

According to a recent survey, nearly half of ACOs are having difficulties engaging patients. Approximately the same percentage of ACOs lack technologies that enable preventive services and address gaps in care. During another recent clinical research study 11 practices faced significant challenges coordinating and delivering behavioral health and primary care to patients due to their EHR systems’ poor information exchange and lack of multiple device support. All the while, the costs associated with failure to coordinate and deliver value-based care continue to grow as non-governmental payors align their reimbursement initiatives with Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.

What type of mHealth app can solve the care coordination challenge?

Mobile apps that secure communication of PHI, enable real-time sharing of health information, and integrate clinical data systems can support care coordination and value-based care delivery.

These mHealth apps can, for instance, deliver automated patient status notifications from HIEs to the smartphones of physicians. HIEs, patient portals, EHRs and other clinical data systems should all be integrated into the backend architecture of these apps.

These apps should also support various forms of communication, including secure texting. With these apps physicians would be able to, in a matter of seconds, communicate with hospital physicians after receiving notification of a patient being admitted. The hospital physician would be able to keep the PCP informed of the patient’s condition by updating her/his patient notes in the mHealth app.

mHealth apps can similarly support care coordination by allowing patients managing complex disease(s) to access their patient portal and communicate with their clinical care team. Patient portals typically have backend REST API servers that these apps can integrate with.

mHealth apps with the aforementioned capabilities are a minority of those available on the market. A recent analysis conducted by IMS Health found 2 percent of mHealth apps targeting consumers connect to providers’ IT systems. mHealth apps offering clinical systems integration and connecting patient apps with care coordination apps are even more rare–but they do exist.

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