The future of health care is on your phone.
As industries increasingly rely on mobile technologies to meet demands of a changing audience, health care has lagged behind. But the push to catch up is on.
At the WRAL TechWire event The Future of Mobile Health on Tuesday at the City Club in Raleigh, developers and health care professionals discussed how the landscape of mobile healthcare is evolving today.
Joanna Rohde, CEO and founder of Raleigh-based Axial Exchange, said the way patient information moves from hospitals and doctors to post-visit facilities is inefficient. The trickle of information distributed on different systems makes caring for patients more difficult—and more expensive.
By trimming unnecessary data, and instead delivering only simple, actionable information, Rohde’s company builds web-based products to make communication flow more efficiently between the parties involved in patient care. Better communication, Rohde said, will lead to better and more consistent care.
Streamlining the process, Rohde said, will also cut down on costs associated with time wasted in rehabilitation and readmittance to the hospital, which could be in the billions of dollars.
But with more health care apps than ever, two problems arise: user experience and data security.
Chris Edwards, CMO of Validic in Durham, said developers are increasingly thinking about how to engage users with mobile apps. Amazon, Facebook and Snapchat all provide “frictionless” interactions online, Edwards said, and health care apps need to try to emulate that experience.
“We have a long way to go … We have to be able to think about user experience,” Edwards said.
Just as users expect a fluid experience, though, they also expect a secure one.
In the same way Edwards advocated for a thoughtful approach to how apps are used, Chris Beal, chief security architect of MCNC in Research Triangle Park, said security needs to be implemented from the beginning, especially when dealing with sensitive medical data.
As security and function improve, though, Beal said conducting medical business online will become commonplace.
Like banking, “digital health will be part of the fabric of health care,” Beal said. “How many people are calling it ‘online banking’ anymore?”