Sprint has recently sponsored a Frost & Sullivan a whitepaper, Mobile Devices and Healthcare: What’s New, What Fits, and How Do You Decide? (414K pdf), which examines the proliferation of mobile devices in healthcare. The paper looks at the strengths and drawbacks of four major mobile device types – smartphones, tablets, push-to-talk communication devices, and machine-to-machine (M2M) remote medical monitoring devices. Each device category is evaluated for application in three unique environments – the hospital, physician’s office, and the patient’s home. Criteria for selecting a mobility partner are also discussed.
“The healthcare sector has never been known for being an early adopter of information technology. However, now there are innovative, powerful mobile devices that must be recognized as absolutely key to expanding and improving patient care, to controlling costs, and to complying with regulatory mandates,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst, Jeanine Sterling.
Smartphone penetration among U.S. healthcare providers continues to surge, and understandably so. As these devices have become more powerful and convenient, their assortment of medical software applications has grown. Caregivers can now use their smartphones to easily access medical reference libraries, view lab results, monitor patient vitals, and access patient electronic health records (EHR). A second device category – today’s next-generation tablets – is now taking these capabilities and magnifying their usefulness with the aid of larger screens, high-resolution displays, and dual cameras.
Even the familiar push-to-talk devices are augmenting their instant voice communications benefit with new form factors and an array of new capabilities, providing needed functionality in multiple scenarios, including the emergency room and in natural disaster situations. And, lastly, M2M remote monitoring devices are starting to bridge the geographic gap between healthcare providers and patients who find it difficult to make in-person office visits. In addition to supporting patients with chronic conditions, M2M technology is being used for personal wellness monitoring and for helping elderly or at-risk individuals to live independently. M2M is improving outcomes and cutting expense – a win-win combination of benefits that few can afford to ignore.
“Mobile technology promises to transform healthcare. It all begins with the mobile device, and vendors are working hard to tempt healthcare providers with a broad, and often bewildering, set of choices. Different types of medical staff will have different information and communications needs. We discuss the criteria to consider when selecting the optimal device(s) and mobility partner. And we offer Sprint as an example of an end-to-end mobile solution provider that has done the due diligence and assembled a top-tier portfolio of solutions and partners,” stated Sterling.