I Want What I Want When I Want It: Smart Phones and the Disruption of Healthcare

By on August 27, 2014 in News

The ubiquitous nature and accessibility of smart phones are poised to disrupt “the way healthcare has been practiced as far back as Ancient Egypt,” according to Eric Topol, MD, who gave the keynote address at the 2014 HealthLeaders CFO Exchange, put on by HealthLeaders Media in San Diego earlier this month.

“I Want What I Want When I Want It,” typically shortened to the somewhat cumbersome acronym IWWIWWIWI, is a concept that originated in fashion and is now driving a wide range of modern industries and business models, from grocery delivery services like Instacart to ride-share services like Uber.

“Everything else is on demand,” explains Topol. “Your groceries can be delivered to your door within an hour, and so can your healthcare.”

During his keynote presentation, Topol argued that smart phones can offer significant benefits to healthcare, and have the potential to empower patients as “constant healthcare companions,” tracking everything from steps and calorie intake to pulse and blood pressure.

Topol believes it won’t be long before smart phones are equipped to analyze blood samples and even handle basic lab work – one of the many ways smart phones are poised to disrupt healthcare delivery as we know it.

While that technology may still be some years off, mobile technology innovations in healthcare are on the rise. As an example, Topol discussed the app Medicast, which allows individuals to schedule house calls with nearby doctors, right from their smart phones or home computers.

One of the key shifts that we can expect to result from the growth and expansion of mobile tech in healthcare is that the vast majority of healthcare data, according to Topol, will be generated by the patients themselves.

As individual consumers continue to become more and more empowered in regard to the management of their own healthcare, the industry will have to adapt to meet the changing needs of a more informed, more engaged patient population.

Some healthcare providers have already gotten the message. Mayo Clinic, for example, has launched a service called Better, which allows consumers to pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to some of the hospital’s best nurse practitioners.

As healthcare providers seek out new ways to improve service while reducing operating expenses, mobile technology can provide a critical piece of the puzzle, reducing operating costs and improving the efficiency of communication.

Tools like BedWatch Admit Control, BedWatch Bed Control, and BedWatch Transport Control are designed to leverage mobile technology to significantly improve communication within the hospital (or system), break down silos, and eliminate the need for antiquated, time-consuming administrative processes. For more information about how these tools can streamline throughput processes at your hospital, please contact us.

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