Four Questions About ACO’s and the Role of Mobile Technology

 

by Jonathan Levoy

Q:  Where does mobile technology play the biggest role in ACO’s?

A:  In a recent publication put out by CCHIT, A Health IT Framework for Accountable Care, they cited that information sharing among Clinicians, Patients, and Authorized Entities would be the only role for Mobile.  While in theory I agree with that assessment, there is a large role for mobile in the financial information gathering and management.  Devices that put Financial Counselors at bedsides, Mobile Bill Payment & Management, and Patient Interactive Communications will also play a big role in ACO’s as time progresses.  Social Media also plays a big role in how ACO’s have pushed information out to the public and since a large majority of people access Social Media via mobile devices this area too will play a big role.

Q:  How does the data collected from the ACO’s affect mobile and patient interaction?

A:  Over the past year my organization has gotten a dramatic increase for Business Intelligence Consultants.  As healthcare organizations are implementing their EMR systems and data is being collected there is a big need to figure out how this data can be utilized to generate better patient outcomes, business data, chronic disease information, outbreak information, and analytics for healthcare administrators to better manage operations.  Of course the data can also be used for millions of other reports that can dramatically affect healthcare.  Mobile will play a huge part in how this data is collected, used and stored.  As mobile becomes more prevalent in healthcare facilities the collection of data will be done on mobile devices. This also spills off to mobile healthcare units and emergency responders.  It is very beneficial in situations like natural disasters where time and mobility of the clinicians becomes a paramount concern.  The ability to access information via a mobile device is considered a luxury at this point, but in my opinion it will become the standard over the next decade.  The fact that over 55% of mobile device consumers now have Smart Phones is also a big part of how the ACO’s can effectively manage patient interaction through mobile apps and access to health information via portals and the web.  Patients are becoming savvier with mobile devices and these devices are becoming a bigger part of daily lives of said patients.  The organizations that embrace this and work on developing how to utilize mobile to communicate with their patients will be the big winners.

Q:  Will the initial ROI for Remote Monitoring be a deterrent for future use by ACO’s?

A:  There was a recent article published by HealthcareITNews.com’s Diana Manos that referenced this and over 50% of the organizations that participated in the study did not see a positive ROI.  However, I feel that the long term viability of remote monitoring will not only lead to positive ROI but will be the norm for a majority of these organizations.  The problem that is currently looming is that the technology is still in the early stages of development.  I do not believe that there is a solution that is 100% effective in all aspects of what is needed to effectively deliver the data that is needed.  I believe that the organizations that invest in this technology and stick through the bumps in the road that comes with development of technology will be the big winners.  There are just too many rural areas that need this type of healthcare delivery, the organizations that can manage or develop the technologies of Remote Monitoring will see significant profits.

Q:  How will privacy and security concerns affect mobile technology in ACO adoption? A:  As mobile health or mHealth goes the parallel track seems to be the concerns around Privacy & Security.  Do I see these challenges of Privacy & Security going away anytime soon?  Probably not, but a lot of work has been done over the past few years, months, days.  Recently mHIMSS published a document titled the mHIMSS Roadmap which I had the privilege of Co-Authoring with some of the brightest minds in Healthcare IT.  The document dedicated a large section to Privacy and Security.  Many of the concerns center on protecting the patient and the health information of patients.  As is normal with most new technology there is a great deal of legislation and lobbying that goes into how this technology will affect multiple areas.  With mobile not only do you have to adhere to HIPPA, but the guidelines set forth by the FCC and FDA along with several other organizations that the mobile technologies might have contact with.  This will and has inevitably slowed down adoption of mobile technology in healthcare organizations.  Recently some great strides have been made and continue to be made by organizations like mHIMSS to act as an advocate for setting fair but secure guidelines that should help in getting mobile technologies to the point that they can begin to be deployed in a much quicker manner.  When the mobile technologies that are being developed can begin to get into Beta and tested in healthcare environments we will definitely see great strides in how clinicians can operate more efficiently.

Jonathan Levoy is the VP of Business Development for Alego Health and currently acts as the Chair for the mHIMSS Digital Media Taskforce in addition to his role as a member of the mHIMSS Advisory Council.  If you would like to contact Mr. Levoy please email him at jlevoy@alegohealth.com.  For more information about mobile technology and its role in healthcare visit the mHIMSS website at www.himss.org/mobilehealthit.

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