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Hospitals Embracing Apps, But Must Do So With Care

Joshua Hoffman
November 19, 2015

People are interacting with the world around them in new and more intuitive ways as they use smartphones and tablets to access key data anytime, anywhere. Health care organizations are starting to take advantage of this movement as they beginto engage patients through consumer-friendly apps. However, hospitals working to deploy such solutions must do so with incredible caution as they must ensure HIPAA compliance while using mobile apps to support patient care.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, doctors are increasingly supplementing traditional care strategies with mobile apps that let them gather information about patients in real time and provide more nuanced health monitoring in-between visits.

"Health care organizations are engaging patients through consumer-friendly apps."

Looking at how apps alter the health care landscape

The news source explained that care providers are engaging patients in diverse ways through mobile apps. One project involves using apps to help HIV patients and their physicians better monitor medication schedules to ensure people are keeping up with their treatment and in the best position to remain healthy. Similar efforts are happening across a wide range of care methods, giving doctors new opportunitiesto stay connected with patients, even if they aren't actually in the physician's office.Joseph Kvedar, vice president of Connected Health at Partners HealthCare, explained some of the benefits that can come with good mobile health apps.

"We want apps to be educational and inspirational, help people adhere to their therapy and enable them to share important information with their doctor," Kvedar told the news source.

The benefits of these engagement strategies are clear, but hospitals can only achieve them if they are able to maintain regulatory compliance. That is still a major challenge for the industry.

Many hospitals not addressing regulatory issues with mobile apps

A recent study from Infinite Convergence found that just 8 percent of hospitals are maintaining regulatory compliance while embracing mobile apps used for messaging. Two key problems exist in this area - care providers suggesting consumer apps as a tool to engage patients and employees using consumer apps for internal messaging.

Custom proprietary apps can resolve this problem. Mobile application development platforms housed within business process management software solutions can give health care users the tools they need to build messaging apps without asking IT to build a solution from scratch. Instead, low-code functions enable users to create apps that align with processes and feature the regulatory controls built into BPM systems while letting them create the messaging and engagement functions they need to truly embrace the mobile revolution.