Doctors' (And Patients') Lives Are Made Easier By Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are revolutionising the way healthcare has been conceived for centuries, creating a direct and invisible link between patients and doctors. Never before in history has tracking data, monitoring patients and reducing human error been so easy and safe. Mobile Health (mHealth) is one of the fastest growing industries in the innovation ecosystem today.

Users, practitioners and technologists are realizing how much easier caring is with services moved to the cloud, allowing data to be accessed everywhere and anywhere. According to the "Global Mobile Health Market Report 2013-2017" by research2guidance, the market for mHealth services has now entered the commercialization phase and will reach $ 26 billion globally by 2017. Remote patient monitoring and other mHealth technologies could avoid significant expense to the Public Health Service and citizens: Juniper Research's latest report on the mHealth market forecasts cumulative costs savings of up to 36 billion USD globally over the next five years.

Consumers are driving much of the demand for mHealth technologies and applications, researchers at Deloitte say. Mobile apps are enhancing overall consumer engagement in health care by increasing the flow of information; lowering costs through better decision-making, fewer in-person visits and greater adherence to treatment plans; and improving satisfaction with the service experience.

Additionally, at least 15% ( source: research2guidance) of mHealth applications are aimed at healthcare professionals and these include CME (Continued Medical Education), remote monitoring and health care management applications, thus dramatically improving the level of service provided to patients.

Dr. Søren Carstens, a Consultant in Anaesthesia & Intensive Care at Roskilde University Hospital in Denmark created an integrated app that is now used throughout the hospital, to help him and his colleagues reduce the mountains of paperwork imposed by regulations and increase patient safety. "When I realised the hospital's major organisational and communications problems, I first wanted to learn programming myself. But my main job is to be a doctor and it is not easy to learn the programming language when you have limited time." says Dr. Carstens. Nevertheless, using the app creation platform by AppsBuilder, Dr. Carstens, who has no background in coding, very quickly developed a tool for smartphones and tablets his colleagues now say is essential for their working day.

Mobile technology is crucial to help him and his colleagues reduce time consuming administrative work -- which is a fact of life for an anaesthesiologist -- and also keep in better contact with each other, creating an environment whereby the opportunities for human error are dramatically reduced.

Speaking about the administrative side of his role, Dr. Carstens said,

Our guidelines are kept in a massive document system, to which many hospitals in the country are connected. This allows medical staff to check out procedures applied in these hospitals in case of emergencies when guidelines are missing in their own hospital. The database has become huge and it gets more and more difficult to swiftly search for the guidelines you need in emergency situations.

Most of the time, you use a very small amount of these guidelines on a daily basis. I wanted to make it easier to access the guidelines from a phone, just like making a call.

Another interesting area that has been greatly improved by the app is training. Young doctors training to become anaesthetists have to list all the activities they do on a daily basis. For example, in order to become a specialist, you have to perform a certain amount of specialist treatments, like epidurals, spinal anaesthesia and intubations.

Now all they have to do is submit the activity through the app. All the information is first collected in the app's form analytics panel, and then processed by the specialist in charge of the education of all the doctors. This makes it very easy to keep the pulse of all the training doctors' activities.

Dr. Carstens case represents a growing phenomenon: with 80% of physicians using smartphones and medical apps to support their job, enabling the use of mobile in the healthcare sector will allow significant time and costs savings and a better care experience for patients in the near future.