EHRs via Mobile Technologies

People are increasingly melding mobile devices into their everyday lives. We check our email, interact with social media, talk on our digital phones, listen to music, surf the internet, conduct banking, make dinner reservations, order merchandise and who-knows-what-else, on our mobile devices. To say that those mobile devices such as phones and tablets are attached to our well-being is an understatement. They are our connection to everything!

So why not our healthcare and everything that has to do with maintaining, checking, monitoring, and interacting with our healthcare providers? Patient-provider communications would be more timely, efficient, and productive. As more people choose Internet access on-the-go instead of rigid desktop computer systems, mobile technologies allow connection with healthcare teams as well as electronic health records (EHRs). Certainly, mobile health, or mHealth is only a matter of time. Paperless offices lend themselves to such use of dental technology to benefit patients and increase diagnostic options.

While limited online or mobile access to healthcare providers and electronic health records is possible via some healthcare organization’s patient portals, issues in security and privacy standards still need further examination before being given the full green light. For now though, protecting a patient’s records from unwanted intrusions is paramount. This also stands in the way for allowing mobile technologies to play an active role in helping healthcare organizations and other practices providers in achieving meaningful use (MU):

“For physicians to fully optimize the phenomenon of smart technology-and achieve true MU-they should implement a mobile technology solution that integrates devices in a manner consistent with security protocols, allow devices to become more pervasive in a medical setting as tools for accessing medical information in a way that can be integrated with other clinical systems” (2012).

Smart devices such as phones and tablets can be efficient tools to assist both patients and providers in the improvement of overall health.

“Health-related smartphone apps streamline the flow of information between health plans, physicians and patients, facilitating one-on-one exchanges that close gaps in care, create quicker care response and improve the overall healthcare environment” (2012).

So, for now, we must wait for the dust to settle in the MU EHR environment and as-yet digital technologies are created to implement mHealth as a another way to securely and safely access electronic health records as a routine and active part of well-being. However, dental offices that focus on embracing the mobile market and reaching out to patients via their preferred method of communication are likely to thrive and survive.

Lessons learned:

  • Mobile technologies provide another way to access electronic health records and interact with healthcare providers.
  • Providers can use mobile devices to assist in patient care.
  • Mobile technologies will become more viable so healthcare providers and vendors should plan to include the appropriate software in their EHRs.

Oscar, R. (2012). How mobile technology helps meet MU. Health Management Technology, 22-23. Retrieved 11-22- 2012 from http://www.healthmgttech.com/articles/201209/how-mobile-technology-helps-meet-mu.php