Doctors – The World Is Now Mobile. Do You Have A Plan To Keep Up?

The smartphone has taken over the world and India is no exception. According to Indian Telecom statistics from TRAI, India’s mobile subscriber base has crossed the 1 billion mark in 2016. Researchers from Gartner estimate that in the next couple of years, a large chunk of these mobile subscribers will move to a smartphone. According to a report by Counterpoint Research, India has over 220 million active smartphones and has surpassed the US smartphone market. With this smartphone proliferation, there also has been an incremental adoption of mobile applications. In 2016 alone, Indians downloaded over 6 million mobile applications, up from 3.5 billion in 2015, and beat the US app market. As the world is getting increasingly concentrated into the palms of the consumers, healthcare applications too are finding space on the smartphone screens. As the consumerisation of healthcare increases, doctors too are looking towards mobile applications to increase efficiencies and productivity and foster better patient engagement.

A good mobile health application has to serve as a common platform where the patients, who are the consumers of healthcare can connect with the healthcare provider, the doctor. Given the increasing emphasis on digitisation, mobile apps serve as the perfect medium that bridge the gap between the patients and the doctors. The average mobile data consumption is also increasing in India and Ericsson estimates that it will account for 99% of total traffic from mobile phones by 2021 increasing fivefold from 2015. This increase in mobile data use is only going to further fuel the app economy.

Search Doctors:

Patients too are turning towards mobile to address their healthcare queries. A large number of people turn to their mobile devices to search for doctors and look for diagnostic services etc. What is becoming apparent is that just as the world turns to mobile to managing their banking and finance, and retail etc. needs, it is also turning to mobile and mobile applications to address their healthcare needs.

Patient Medical History Management:

With the rise of high-speed networks, both patients and doctors can look at the mobile app for a more integrated healthcare experience. A good mobile application can store the health history of an individual and allow anywhere, anytime access. This can be of help if an individual requires medical assistance when he/she is travelling or does not have access to hard copies of the health records. Mobile apps can be used to store all health-related data in the form of prescriptions, health records, lab reports, X-Rays, and scans etc. All health records can be easily stored in the mobile app and can be accessed when needed. The patients can choose to provide access to these medical records to specific doctors enabling the doctors to offer better patient care.

Better Patient Management:

For doctors, managing and maintaining mountains of health records, cases, and patient information can prove to be a gargantuan challenge. Since most doctors are connected with more than one hospital and usually run more than one clinic, having access to patient records and cases when they need to becomes critical. In this age of technology, mobile apps make it easier to read up on cases, take a look at reports and lab results when they are on the go. They can use the mobile app for drug and disease research, store related research information and identify other reliable sources for consultations. Having a centralised repository of patient information can assist them in better patient management as all appointments, feedbacks, case notes can be stored easily in one place and accessed at convenience.

Improve Efficiency:

Mobile apps can also make practice management easier and more efficient. Since all the information regarding the patient is stored in a central repository, there is no time wasted in retracing steps and the time spent with the patient can be used more productively. They can also use the mobile app to manage the administrative concerns of the different clinics, manage multiple calendars, streamline case management, referral management etc. easily. Along with this, they can also share files with the concerned parties.

Analytics:

With a good mobile app which offers analytics feature, doctors can assess the performance of their clinics, identify factors that contribute to recurring ailments, assess which tests are being done more frequently etc.

Better Compliance:

Given the increasingly complex and stringent compliance landscape, finance management capabilities of a mobile app can help the doctors remain on the right side of the regulatory landscape by easily documenting all incomes, outflows and finance records.

Better Patient Interaction:

Mobile apps also make consultations easier. Using the app both, doctor and patient can connect with one another, exchange basic information, and complete the first stage of consultation which primarily revolves around information gathering. They can decide on the course of action that needs to be taken and when they meet physically, the meeting then becomes more productive and time-efficient. Considering the low patient and practitioner ratio in India, this feature can be of great advantage to both the parties.

Patient Engagement:

Doctors can also help patients manage their health with the help of mobile apps post discharge from hospitals, remain connected with patients post operations easily, assist in chronic disease management and send timely reminders to their patients to make health care more manageable and increase patient engagement and patient satisfaction.

Most doctors today are using their mobile to check emails and messages from patients. To leverage the mobile revolution to their advantage, all they need to do is look at a comprehensive mobile app to address the medical needs of their patients. The convenience of the mobile app not only benefits the doctor but also benefits the patients greatly.

 

How Doctors Can be More Engaged With Their Patients

Patient engagement can be considered the holy grail of healthcare. As healthcare providers look towards technology and tools to improve operations and costs and boost patient engagement, doctors too, are now opening up to technology use to help their patients manage their health better. However, while healthcare providers look at providing ‘value’ to the patient by utilizing technology, the essence of patient engagement in the real sense is illustrated only when the physician and the patient work together not only during times of poor health but in times of good health as well. Considering doctors are busy and pressed for time, they can leverage the same technology to stay connected with their patients and enhance the patient experience. As almost 80% of the doctors own a smartphone, they can now connect with their patients on the go.

Telemedicine

Gone are the days when the good old doctor could come for a home visit to assess your physical health. However, doctors can use Telemedicine technology to connect with patients on an ongoing basis to assess their current health conditions. In countries, such as India, where there is a huge rural population and skewed doctor-patient ratios, telemedicine can be leveraged to ensure that proper health care services reach a majority of people. In the urban landscape too, doctors can leverage telemedicine facilities to interact with patients and help them manage their health. Considering the amount of time we spend traveling from one point to another, telemedicine can be a huge boon when you just want to discuss preventive medicine or take immediate advice if a health problem needs to be addressed in the emergency room or it can wait until the next morning.

Patient Interaction Systems

Doctors can also leverage Patient Interaction Systems to improve their patient interaction. A great patient interaction system will enable two-way communication by SMS, email, and even IVR. Appointment confirmations, instant notifications and updates, post appointment messages etc. can be delivered by these systems. When doctors are proactive about their interactions with their patients, they too are more satisfied. This can improve a doctor’s online reputation as these interactions can increase patient response rates to social media and other surveys. Along with this, doctors can also send out post-consultation updates to their patients using chat and SMS services to ensure that the patient does not miss out on any vital piece of the information that he/she needs to maintain his health.

Mobile App

While mHealth has become quite popular with patients, digitally inclined doctors too are leveraging mobile apps to improve their practice. Doctors can use mobile apps to look up drug and disease information, discover other providers for consultations and referrals, find lab guides, get answers to critical clinical questions, centralize all patient related information for easy access, view and share medical information, get feedback and even monitor a patient remotely. Further mobile apps are a great way to keep track of patient appointments and avoid overlaps along with address the needs of running a practice. Practice management becomes very easy with mobile applications as all important documents are hosted in one place and are integrated. Since no time is wasted looking for previous history and other relevant information when a patient comes for a physical meeting, the doctor can utilize the time to concentrate on having a meaningful conversation and boost effective interaction with the patient.

Tutorials

We are now entering the age when patients want to leverage preventive healthcare. However, there is a serious lack of qualified information regarding the same. Most people reach out to Dr. Google to get answers to some of their pressing health care queries as they feel that their doctor might not have the time to answer their questions – They, after all, are not unwell. Doctors can become a part of this preventive healthcare drive by leveraging technology and uploading tutorials on preventive healthcare and give practical advice to people on how they can manage their health better and answer the questions that are asked regarding the topic in discussion. This information can greatly benefit the patients as they will be getting their information from a qualified and dependable source and thereby increase the scope for patient engagement.

By leveraging technology, doctors can ensure better physician-patient interactions, enable preventive health care and ensure that their patients are more involved in their personal care. High patient engagement then, just becomes a consequence of these great interactions.

10 Uses of Your Smartphone beyond Candy Crush

Over the last decade, the smartphone revolution has radically changed our lives. From banking to retail the smartphone has become a powerful tool meant for collaboration. Much like everything else, medicine and healthcare have not remained oblivious to the charm of the smartphone. Innovative digital technologies, cloud computing, machine intelligence have dramatically changed the perception of healthcare.

In this blog, we take a look at 10 ways in which physicians can leverage their smartphone for things other than checking emails.

1. Practice Management – Practice management for doctors on the go can be a huge task. Who has the time to shift through multiple files and databases to get information? Smartphone apps can help busy doctors manage multiple clinics and their related administrative concerns from a central repository.

2. Patient Management – Doctors can now very conveniently convert their smartphone into their personal assistant. Right from accessing important patient information and history to logging complete patient interactions within seconds, doctors can leverage their smartphone to access medical records, previous prescriptions, lab tests etc.

3. Appointment Management – Who wants to manage multiple calendars that anyways run overfull all the time? Busy doctors need an efficient appointment management application that can help them plan, schedule and organize their days without overlaps easily.

4. Case management – How much of precious time is wasted looking for the relevant case file which has to be fetched manually by an already overworked hospital worker. With the help of smartphone applications, doctors can get all the case related data right in the palm of their hand.

5. Referral Management- How many times in a day do you think doctors refer patients to other doctors? How many patients do doctors meet in a day? Now try isolating who you had referred to which doctor and who you hadn’t referred at all. While referral management might seem very easy, it can sometimes snowball into something quite unmanageable. Use your smartphone for easy referral management instead.

6. Record Management –When everyone is going paperless wouldn’t it just be easier to go paperless when managing patient records as well? A smartphone application with specialty-wise templates can help doctors enter and manage patient records easily with minimal typing. Minimum effort but maximum benefit.

7. Multiple file storing – When we say medical files, most people assume reports and prescriptions. However, medical files also include X-Rays, pictures, videos along with test results. Doctors can use save and access these files from their smartphone quite easily.

8. File sharing – Just having access to online medical records is not enough anymore. A smartphone application that is smart enough will allow doctors to not just view all files, reports, X-Rays of patients but will also allow them to share it with the concerned people.

9. Practice Analytics – Doctors can now put their smartphone to good use for practice analytics. With the help of data-driven insights, they can understand the kind of patients they are getting, commonalities between patients, identify frequently

conducted tests, factors contributing to recurring ailments etc. all of which contribute greatly in disease management.

10. Financial Management – With everything that they already need to manage, do doctors have the time for managing their own finances, transactions, billings, referrals, consultation fees etc.? Most would say no. However, doctors can use your smartphone to manage all these and know exactly how their finances are shaping up.

Using the smartphone, physicians and doctors can early remove the barriers that impede optimal performance for them. All they need to ensure is that they get a single solution with multiple capabilities that can meet all their needs.