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Why Tablets Are the New Frontier for In-Home mHealth

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It’s hard to deny that the health care industry is looking to technology as a means to lower utilization costs (hospitalizations and ER visits), improve patient care, and to facilitate communication across providers.

Two-thirds of health IT executives believe that the use of mobile technology will substantially or dramatically impact the delivery of healthcare in the future. And now providers are putting their money where their mouth is: More than one-quarter of HIT executives are currently implementing a mobile technology program.

Today 80% percent of physicians and 73% of non-physician clinicians use mobile technology to provide at least some patient care – and tablet devices are quickly stealing the top spot as the mhealth platform of choice.

Why are medical professionals embracing tablets for patient care? Portability, display capability, and better buy-in rank as high considerations.

While computers and laptops have been used for years, today’s tablets (think Apple’s iPad and the new Samsung Galaxy tablet) have changed the game. Modern tablets have a long battery life, intuitive user interface, and lightweight body that is more compatible with clinicians’ workflow.

Tablets are also becoming an economical choice to facilitate mhealth and remote patient monitoring. The average selling price of tablets dropped 25% in just 6 months between December 2012 and June 2013.

The plummeting cost of tablet devices perfectly dovetails with another top area for growth in the telehealth market: home-based care and disease management monitoring.

Up until now home care has operated with outdated, paper-based systems, and the data documented through telephony systems is extremely limited and used mainly for billing purposes, not to enhance patient care. The rise of tablets offers a new opportunity to expand digital documentation outside hospital walls, to where it was previously unavailable before.

Why are tablets a better solution for home-based care? For home health care aides, tablets provide an opportunity for real-time interaction with the care team to a greater extent than ever before. In-home caregivers can record their observations and notes directly onto an electronic platform, which saves times, avoids mistakes, and helps prevent small problems that occur in the home from becoming big problems that send a patient to the hospital.

In what ways do you think tablets will influence mhealth in the next year? Share your comments below!


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