Health informatics (HI) is changing the way healthcare functions. As a way to lower costs and increase efficiency in healthcare, the tools associated with HI are being used to enable better doctor / patient communication and reduce redundancy in health systems operations. To this end, new healthcare apps are being created and used by millions of patients across the country. These apps allow patients to take control of their own health by being more involved with their diet, exercise and instructions from physicians. With an MBA in Healthcare Management online from The George Washington University, you can be a part of this healthcare revolution as apps help people live better lives.
Before these apps were commonly used, patients would be forced to meet with care providers in person, even just to receive test results. Certain apps now allow test results to be sent to a patient’s smartphone in real time. Also, some costly doctor visits can be avoided since many healthcare apps now allow patients to communicate with their doctors from home.
“Patients with heart disease can send information about their heart rate straight to their doctors [and] accessories allow diabetics to monitor their blood glucose levels by sending the results straight to their smartphone.” — Vincent DeRobertis, senior vice president of global healthcare at Research Now Group.
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A great example of how healthcare apps are increasing efficiency comes from Mt. Sinai’s primary care clinic and Dr. Aparna Sarin. In the past, Dr. Sarin used to print information for a variety of procedures — where to send a diabetic patient for care, how to order a colonoscopy, etc. She would then take the printouts and physically deliver them to their respective locations throughout the hospital. If something were to change, like a phone number or location, Dr. Sarin would then have to repeat the printout process and deliver new copies. With the CareTeam app she and her colleagues are now using, many of these mundane though time-consuming steps are eliminated.
Doctors and healthcare providers are increasingly tasked with increasing the quality of patient care while lowering costs. Healthcare apps are playing an important role in this effort. According to Vincent DeRobertis, “Apps are improving healthcare professionals’ knowledge of their patients, while patients feel a lift in their quality of life.”
The same factor that makes for greater patient satisfaction is what brings down costs: healthcare apps allow doctors to spend their time on the tasks that truly matter. By referring routine tasks in patient monitoring and administration to a healthcare app, doctors can focus their attention on one-on-one consultations in complex cases and intensive procedures.
One example of a time-saving healthcare app is CareTeam. Released in 2012, this app walks new staff through a clinic’s protocol, step by step. This app was developed by senior medical staff to help cut back on the time they spent answering questions, both in person and in emails. Medical students working within the clinic can now learn independently to perform routine tasks, some of which can be completed through the app directly.
In fact, more and more medical professionals are taking it upon themselves to solve their own issues through the creation of apps like these. “Medical students at every institution are developing apps,” said Jonathan Weiner, a professor of health policy and management and health informatics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Analysts expect that the revenue from mobile health apps like these will reach $26.5 billion by 2017. With more and more healthcare apps being created, the new challenge in health informatics is finding a way to make these apps interoperable across systems. A healthcare MBA from The George Washington University can help place you at the forefront of this exciting new wave in healthcare.