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Science fiction has often shaped much of what becomes reality in the future. Mark Twain’s science fiction story entitled From The London Times was the first to introduce a technology concept that would later become a major necessity for humanity: “The Internet”. More recently, Star Trek has become a cult in the minds of its viewers not only inspiring virtues of honor, loyalty and civic duty but also becoming a mirror for future innovations.

Last year Scanadu, a startup developing transformative ideas for healthcare, developed a prototype scanner. When placed at the temple, the scanner reads blood pressure, breathing and stress levels, and then transmits the data via Bluetooth to a smart phone for sharing with a doctor. The device, inspired by the iconic “Star Trek” tricorder, is turning heads, and the company recently announced $10.5 million in funding from multiple investors to help produce a commercial version.

But this is not the only area where mobility is impacting healthcare. Remote health monitoring generated $10.01 billion globally in 2010, and this is just the beginning as healthcare mobility becomes more prevalent everyday. Today, chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiac conditions and asthma are successfully treated with home monitoring using mobile technology, according to a research report by Berg Insight.

Mobile healthcare: The prognosis of the future

The growing usage of mobility in healthcare can broadly be attributed to two major factors – industry challenges and rapid advancements in mobile technology. The healthcare industry across the globe is facing increasing costs, stringent regulatory environment, declining profitability and rising need for quality care. Mobile Healthcare is answering to most, if not all, challenges by making healthcare organizations to be lean, accurate, agile and more responsive to market demand. A study jointly commissioned by Telenor and Boston Consulting Group titled “Socio-Economic Impact of mHealth,” reveals two salient facts: One, 30% of smart phone users is expected to use “wellness apps” by 2015 and secondly smart phone is the most popular device among doctors since the stethoscope.

Mobility is soon becoming an integrated part of patient care, community care, emergency care, clinical collaboration, workforce management and hospital administration. The benefits of mobile health solutions are becoming apparent to caregivers. 85% of hospitals are embracing BYOD and 70% of healthcare provider organizations use mobile devices to access EMRs. Consumers, on the other hand, are showing greater preferences to mobile medical devices and healthcare apps because of the convenience, affordability and the timely medical assistance it offers to them at the point of need. It’s therefore increasingly important for providers to have an all-inclusive mobility strategy.

Appification of healthcare

Several studies suggest that we have passed the seminal moment in the “appification” of healthcare.  . Today, doctors use apps for instant patient access, track patient history and as an electronic stethoscope. They have complete access to mobile electronic medical records. Consumers use apps like Symcat, a mobile symptom checker which promises to be more accurate than google search or MediSafe  a cloud-based pillbox app that reminds you to take your medication—and notifies loved ones if you don’t. And this is just getting started!

Your phones will never have the power to cure cancer but if mobility in healthcare can make medicine cheaper, more accessible and more personal it will free the necessary but scarce resources for the life-enhancing drugs of the future.

That’s an opportunity we cannot let go of!

Learn more about one of SAP for Healthcare’s innovative solutions to support collaborative care delivery at www.carecircles.com

Click here to read the rest of this blog series.

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