The tech industry loves car analogies. Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously stated that PC’s are becoming ”like trucks”, meaning they’re still very useful, but not something everyone uses every day.
We think this is great news. Again, PCs aren’t going away. Perhaps there’ll even be more of them for the growing field of programmers and IT managers who need powerful tools. But just like you probably won’t drive to the supermarket with a utility truck, a lot of computing and data entry will be done with lighter and more portable mobile hardware.
As we’ve discussed before, healthcare technology has already gone mobile and its potential to help healthcare professionals do their job better is tremendous. But if you’re anything like us you’re probably wondering, where will healthcare mobility take us in the long run? Let’s put on our techno wizard hats and find out!
1. Wearable technology you’ll be proud to wear
For nearly a decade now, we’ve been told wearable computing is just around the corner. The promise is enormous: telemetrics from the patient are sure to improve diagnosis and long term care enormously.
Our Finnish readers who visited the Slush conference might have seen Urska Srsen’s Bella Beat LEAF product. If Google Glass was ridiculed for looking like ”a handsfree Segway for your face”, Bella proves that healthcare gadgets can be as pretty as jewelry. When appearance and high price (partly due to low adoption) stop being barriers to wearable health computing, we predict a steep rise in demand.
What’s more, with Apple Watch launching to an ecosystem of APIs such as HealthKit (for storing private health metrics from different sources) and ResearchKit (for participating in medical studies), we can say for sure that the tech giants have awakened.
2. Video and other content
Videos are excellent for training purposes. With devices capable of video playback now present everywhere, healthcare professionals and patients will be able to adopt new information and instructions more quickly. As early as 2012, a Google study reported that doctors spent three hours a week watching online video for professional purposes.
Information acquired through online media will take on a greater role for diagnostic and prescribing decisions. But we can think of further uses, especially on the patient side. Instruction manuals can be augmented by short videos on subjects ranging from the use of medical devices and physical training programs to basic instructions for caregivers. In the so-called Pill Plus model, pharmaceutical companies are going beyond medication by providing connected services and online content, particularly to patients with chronic conditions.
3. Telepresence and remote assistance will complement face-to-face
While telesurgery is already commonplace in specialized medicine, the mutual use of smartphone cameras is set to increase in basic healthcare. Not only are cameras in standard issue smartphones still improving at an astonishing rate, but high resolution, specialized cameras, and other medical instruments are likely to become compatible with mobile device standards, such as Bluetooth.
Doctors carrying mobile devices will be more reachable for consultation with patients and nurses over distances both long and short. This will save crucial minutes for duties that require being there in person, and inevitably, people’s lives too.
4. We’ll have instant access to complex patient data
Of course, with mobile computing, access to patient records and medical information will be significantly easier. Optimally, this will be built around APIs that allow for data to travel between healthcare providers in formats that are sane on mobiles (pro tip: not PDFs).
The biggest promise, in our opinion, is the new information that smartphones and wearable health technology can add to patient profiles. Our understanding of the human physiology will be massively augmented by the data collected when patients aren’t under the watchful eyes of healthcare professionals: anything from whether they are sleeping or walking enough to their blood sugar levels and even pulse metrics. Perhaps the next step will be to provide patients with low-cost appliances that perform further tests on a regular basis, such as the devices available for diabetes patients.
5. Mobile Device Management will prevent an information disaster
The transformation of healthcare technology has tremendous potential for humankind, but just imagine if all this highly personal data were leaked to unauthorized parties or all this content and apps plagued with malware. This brings us to our final point, which is that the new security, privacy and legal risks will make Mobile Device Management both indispensable and ubiquitous.
As users of Miradore Online will know, Mobile Device Management provides fast and convenient ways to drastically reduce such risks on massive fleets of diverse devices. To keep up with the rapidly changing healthcare industry, we are constantly adding more new features to Miradore Online to help you better control your devices. Sign up to the free service today and start making them the platform of a future that’s already here.