Thursday, January 10, 2013

new house call
The mobile health landscape is shifting. It's shifting from the doctor's office to the patient's home, and from the individual downloading an app to the institution endorsing a program.

"This is really about meaningful innovation," says Geeta Nayyar, chief medical officer of AT&T's ForHealth division, which is occupying a significant piece of real estate in the mHealth Summit's Exhibit Hall.

Eleanor Chye, PhD, executive director of AT&T ForHealth and lead of the company's business solutions unit, says mHealth has been "on the cusp" for the last four years, and is ready for its watershed moment. She says that shift is being seen in large healthcare organizations – providers and payers ¬– who are adopting mHealth tools and programs as a means for improving healthcare rather than testing a theory.

"There is a recognition of the need for engagement," she says.

Or, as Nayyar calls it, "stickiness."

AT&T's ForHealth division, which focuses on the mobile links between patients and caregivers, bases its success in large part on that stickiness, or the ability to keep patients actively involved in their healthcare management. If it isn't sticky, then the solution or the program loses traction and ultimately fails.

Chye says the focus on mHealth programs is shifting from capturing data to doing something with it.

For the provider, this means having access to data that has been analyzed and made meaningful, resulting in better clinical decisions. For the patient, this means a more personalized clinical experience.

"We're going to see far more empowerment tools for the individual," says Nayyar.

Along with Nayyar and Chye, who have several speaking engagements at the summit, AT&T issued a press release pointing out the top five mHealth trends for the coming year. They are:

1.A shift from stand-alone “unsponsored” apps to meaningful “sponsored” mHealth solutions supported and pushed by insurance companies, healthcare providers, employers or other institutions will result in higher patient adoption and engagement.

2.Hospitals and other healthcare institutions (including payers) will move more healthcare data into the cloud, with data analytics to better manage healthcare costs by finding and addressing patient needs earlier.

3.Remote patient monitoring will move beyond pilots and into large-scale adoption as hospitals adopt the accountable care organization model to reduce readmission costs associated with chronic conditions.

4.Integrated mHealth applications will be created that can connect with other devices, apps and data for more holistic healthcare, where information is safely shared across platforms regardless of the vendor.

5.An upswing in telehealth will bridge the significant gap between physician resources and patient demand.

“Physicians make better treatment decisions and predictions based on better data, so we must have better access to information when patients need it the most,” Nayyar said in the press release. “These kinds of technologies have the potential to help people make the shift from being reactive to being proactive with their care.”

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