HIMSS Third Annual mHealth Technology Survey

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Today at the HIMSS Annual Conference, HIMSS published its third-annual mHealth technology survey. The study was conducted with little regard for standard data collection methodologies. Participants in a variety of roles, such as IT staff (62 percent). clinicians (12 percent), and other hospital leadership, (26 percent) were emailed an invitation to participate between December 2013 and January 2014. Of all respondents, those that report being responsible for developing, implementing, or supporting a health system’s mobile technology policies were accepted into the final participants. In total, 170 people were included.

The results, though they were hastily collected, present evidence that suggests that mobile technology may be losing its significance to health systems as a tool in their care delivery strategy.  Only59 percent report that their organizations have a mobile technology security policy in place, a decrease from the 68 percent of respondents who reported this in 2012.  However, an additional 29 percent report that a plan is being actively written which, if they finish within 2014, will close the year out with 88 percent of health systems having a mobile technology plan on the books.

2013 has been an important year for the legitimization of mobile health technology at large, as the FDA formally published their final guidance on mobile medical apps. One-third of respondents believe that mobile technology will have a dramatic or substantial impact on patient care in the future. Similarly, one-third of respondents did report that their organization offered an app for patient use, while 83 percent of respondents report that physicians are using mobile devices to directly support their approach to patient care.

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When asked which federal policies or initiatives would have the greatest impact on the way mHealth is used and implemented in healthcare today, respondents agreed that changes to HIPAA would have the most significant impact, followed by Meaningful Use regulations.

Pharmacy management was identified as the most common use for mobile technology, driven largely by the popularity of Epocrates’ drug library. Home health workers, however, were reportedly seen as the heaviest users of mHealth technology, as they rely on it to access patient information from remote care environments.

Driving future growth is a widely-held belief that mobile health technology will help improve access to patient information from remote locations. Counterbalancing this motivation, respondents say that their largest barrier to adoption is a lack of funding for mobile health projects.


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