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Mobile Apps - a Growing Trend in Home Health

Published by Billian's HealthDATA
Sam Smith & Teresa Lee
October 10, 2013

Editorís Note: New technologies have traditionally offered home health providers a means to better coordinate and manage patient care. These technologies include not only mobile applications (apps) that grant greater access to patients, but also better IT systems that allow for the exchange of health information across care settings.

The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI), a membership-based non-profit foundation, is committed to innovative methods of improving patient care. To better illustrate how technology can facilitate improved patient engagement, Teresa Lee, Executive Director of AHHQI, and Sam Smith, Vice President, Business Development of AHHQI member company Axxess Technology Solutions, offer their combined perspective on the role mobile tools play in home health.

The advancement of IT into healthcare, primarily through EHR systems, facilitates clinician documentation of patient care in acute and ambulatory areas, and to a lesser extent, in the community and home setting. In addition to increasing adoption of healthcare IT, the advent and prolific growth of handheld devices has ushered in innovative care transformation models as they relate to the patientís ability to fully partner with physicians and clinical teams in the management of disease.

One of the greatest areas for future growth of these new care models will be consumer health and the ability to integrate patient-generated data into a new generation of EHRs from the host of mobile devices being created for patients in the home and on the go. The mobile health (mHealth) market is expected to grow to $26 billion globally by 2017, according to Research2Guidance, and home health remains an area of opportunity for innovation and new products.

First-generation mHealth apps are targeted towards replicating applications already running on desk and laptops by home health clinicians. These apps aim to improve clinician encounters with patients, including: documentation (extension of EHR); reference apps (coding, billing, drug reference); and enhancing communication between agencies and their patients (personal health records, social media). In the very near future, apps will likely seamlessly integrate patient-generated data captured by shrinking consumer-computing devices wherever they are found. Patients are already sharing health data from across the spectrum of their lives, and over large periods of time formally and informally with their providers. Examples of this include daily nutrition journals, 24-hour fitness data from personal devices and medication use.

The use of mobile apps in home healthcare is an undeniable trend that has already begun to transform how providers and patients will jointly improve patient care and achieve positive outcomes efficiently and cost effectively, while meeting patient satisfaction goals.

Sam Smith is the Vice President of Business Development at Axxess Technology Solutions, which provides quality technology solutions to the health care industry in a professional, timely and cost effective manner.

Teresa Lee is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation, a 501(c)(3) organization that pursues a mission of leading and sponsoring research and education on the value home health provides to patients and the entire U.S. health care system.

See the original article here.