Posted by Mike Fontana on 12 Nov 2015
I have read several articles in the past few months regarding the use of mobile phones within healthcare and how important a role they will play in the future. I completely agree that the use of mobile phones by healthcare consumers, as well providers and payors, will be an important vehicle in information creation and accessibility. Such developments have the potential to increase productivity and provide value for patients as we move from fee for service to quality-based pricing models.
A portal is a website that makes information available and transferable between multiple parties. Consumer demographics, benefit information, lab results, internal email correspondence, statements, and payment transactions are some of the items that can be exchanged between a patient and a healthcare provider within a secure portal environment.
Some publications have indicated that providers prefer to text patients in response to the consumer obsession with cell phones. Providers understand the limitations of mobile phones versus a more comprehensive web portal, but they are also learning how to leverage mobile communication for maximum impact. Both the portal and the phone have their distinct purposes, and healthcare is best when both technologies work together.
Within a secure full-feature portal, text messages can be sent to patients informing them to log into the main portal to access any information posted to it. Text messages can also be used to communicate with patients about specific transactions and connect disparate participants in the healthcare system.
Mobile devices are not only communication tools, but also vehicles to access all kinds of electronic information on the web. Patients can use mobile phones to connect to the web portal itself, underlining the need for responsive design that adapts to wide range of devices. Tablets, PCs, and other electronic devices can provide the same access functionality, so a responsive design can ensure patients are engaged and satisfied with the online interaction regardless of the medium through which they access the portal.
Some healthcare professionals seem to suggest the web portal is becoming outdated. I not only disagree but rather believe it is now more important than ever to develop the portal further and use it to increase transparencies, connect more participants in the healthcare system, and increase connectivity with patients through proper integration with mobile technologies.
The bottom line is that the healthcare industry and its technology partners must understand how to maximize the use of mobile devices in order to improve electronic connectivity with patients and build a sound electronic infrastructure. This electronic infrastructure of the future will become an industry backbone where information and function reside, creating the need for accessibility. However, the modern healthcare consumer will expect to have the freedom to choose how he or she accesses this infrastructure, making it imperative for healthcare providers to offer solutions that are adaptable and span across a variety of technological mediums.
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