Abstract Mobile computing has become a fixture in our everyday lives. As of today, people throughout the world can use their mobile devices to do anything that they would normally do on a laptop or a personal computer. At this point, there are no foreseeable bounds where mobile technology is concern. The healthcare industry is now realizing this fact and has decided to implement mobile technology within their industry. While still in the early stages of implementing mobile technology within the healthcare industry, there are many things to consider, and questions to ask.
Within this paper, I will answer such questions as patient information accuracy, security issues, advantages and disadvantages of using a mobile device and the impact the social media has within the healthcare industry. Distinguish between patient self monitoring using mobile computing technology to inpatient visits to the doctor or hospital As technology continues to penetrate our daily lives, all forms of business have decided to take advantages of this phenomenon; from manufacturing to healthcare.
Patients now possess the ability to monitor their vital signs using mobile technology, instead of travelling to clinics and hospitals to visit doctors. “In the past few years, the technology landscape has been drastically changed by the proliferation of consumer-focused mobile computing devices. These devices, primarily smart phones and mobile tablets, are a new type of platform – less power than laptops and workstations, but with more functionality and connectivity than traditional phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs)” (Himss 2011). There are some things to consider when both patients and doctors are involved with mobile technology.
One will compare and contrast patients monitoring vital signs using mobile technology to impatient visits to the doctor’s office or hospital using the following criteria: * Accuracy of information giving to patients using mobile technology versus patients receiving this information from doctor visits and hospitals * Response time from using mobile technology versus waiting in clinics and hospitals for vital signs * Corrective action needed based on the results of mobile computing versus the correction action the doctor would recommend to take Accuracy of information.
It is vital for anyone to receive accurate information when it comes to their personal health. One thing that doctors have on their side is the years of experience they possess when it comes to diagnosing symptoms and illness that they have witnessed and cured throughout their careers. Patients now possess the ability to check vital signs in the privacy of their own home, or abroad. “A team led by Ki Chon, professor and head of biomedical engineering at WPI, has developed a smart phone application that can measure not only heart rate, but also heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation using the phone’s built-in video camera.
The new app yields vital signs as accurate as standard medical monitors now in clinical use” (Cohen 2011). Hospitals and doctors’ clinics have begun to use mobile technology within their facilities to aid in healthcare. “To test for accuracy, volunteers at WPI donned the standard monitoring devices now in clinical use for measuring respiration, pulse rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen content. Simultaneously, the volunteers pressed a finger onto the camera of a Motorola Droid phone. While all devices were recording, the volunteers went through a series of breathing exercises while their vital signs were captured.
Subsequent analysis of the data showed that Chon’s new smart phone monitor was as accurate as the traditional devices” (Cohen 2011). Response time from using mobile technology versus waiting in clinics and hospitals for vital signs Patients using mobile technology will have their results within a few seconds. Patients visiting the doctor’s office or the hospital will have to wait for an extended period of time, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition and the wait time before actually being seen by the doctor.
A doctor or nurse, once present, will be able to address any issue a patient may have. Corrective action needed based on the results of mobile computing versus the correction action the doctor would recommend to take Depending on the results a patient will receive from using mobile technology, there may not be any solution or advice in regards to their current symptoms. From what it looks like, the mobile technology available to patients only possess the ability to record statistics and enter the recordings into a database.
“One of the advantages of mobile phone monitoring is that it allows patients to make baseline measurements at any time, building a database that could allow for improved detection of disease states” (Cohen 2011). The issue is if a problem arises, the technology at this stage is incapable of providing any using information to rectify the problem. Most likely, the patient will have to travel to their doctor’s office or a nearby hospital. Advantages and Disadvantages of mobile technology Using mobile technology to monitor patients does have its advantages and its disadvantages.
Ironically, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Here are the advantages of using mobile technology to monitor patients: Patient Care ? Increased efficiency of the healthcare provider when with the patient: The care provider does not have to go from machine to machine, room to room, back and forth to a computer terminal, etc. ? Real-time visibility into the patient’s condition: Instead of waiting for lab results to be sent, x-ray images to develop, charts to be read, telemetry to be processed, healthcare professionals have this information at their fingertips.
? Increased patient participation in their own healthcare: This lightweight and interactive technology should allow the caregivers to be physically closer and more interactive with the patients. This provides a sense of ownership, meaning that the patients and their families are more likely to absorb and interact with the information. The interaction can give more information to the physician who can then make a better diagnosis. The ownership leads to higher rates of acceptance of the diagnosis and the following of orders post-diagnosis.
Other ? More free space: Space is at a premium in hospitals. Large form factor machines take up much needed space in areas such as nursing stations, patient rooms, hallways, and patient care rooms that have been converted to storage areas for specialty equipment. Mobile computing devices allow much of this space to be reclaimed (see the example box on page 3). ? Improving emergency room processes: By freeing up admission nurses from sitting behind their desks, mobile computing devices can improve the process of admitting patients.
A patient with a trauma no longer has to limp over to the desk and sit uncomfortably while doing the paperwork. And it is easier for non-ambulatory patients to be admitted if the electronic paperwork can be delivered to them. (HIMSS 2011) The disadvantages are the following: “It can also mean more technical emphasis which can be a stress factor for patients as well as medical staff. The input of data needs to be secured and stored. The infrastructure may not be able to offer the same standards as with wired infrastructure.
The radiation issue is still unclear and needs to be clarified. The industry overall must agree to a certain industry standard-this is not the case at the moment” (Linhoff pg. 223). Based on the abundance of advantages, it would be wise for physicians, as well as hospitals and other healthcare organizations to implement mobile technology within their practices and hire the appropriate IT personnel to implement the technology; and find ways to limit the disadvantages.
There will always be a concern in regards to security with wireless networks. “From a healthcare perspective, several important risks exist regarding the security of mobile computing devices, including the complexity involved in securely managing the devices, the costs necessary to provide adequate security, the potential for loss or theft of the devices, the growing threat of malware, and the limitations involved in using the small form factor mobile computing devices” (HIMSS 2011).
Everyone possesses a smart phone, a tablet, or any mobile computing device. It is essential for hospitals to decide who is allowed access to their networks, and what are the protocols and controls for gaining this access. “If it only permits organizational-owned devices, it must determine how to control/prevent the access of the non-organizational devices to their networks” (HIMSS 2011). This is a complicated situation because the hospitals will not know the true intent of every user. Some users may honestly want an update of their health condition.
Others may plant viruses or view other documents that are not pertaining to them. Organizations within the healthcare industry also need to consider the type of access that should be given to patients and visitors. “As the number of mobile computing devices has grown, the number of patients who want to keep up with their email and social networks has also grown. Hospitals and points of care need to consider providing secure access for these patients, ideally via a “guest” network that is separate from the internal hospital network” (HIMSS 2011).
Social Networking It looks like Facebook and Twitter are providing more than everyday chatter. “In a recent report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a third of U. S. adults use social media as a health resource, seeking medical information, discussing symptoms, asking questions, and expressing opinions about physicians, drugs, and insurance companies” (Baldelomar 2012). Depending on one’s outlook it can be looked at in a variety of ways.
How can someone trust the advice of someone else in regards to certain symptoms if they are not licensed to provide advice? By asking, and gaining information when it comes to health concerns through social media does present a form of comfort. A individual seeking knowledge about a certain ailment can guarantee that wherever the information came from, it is either shared between friends and no one else will know; or anonymous, and identities will not be revealed, by either participant.
“It’s also not surprising that the demographic of these social media users is largely between the ages of 18 to 24, of which an amazing 80% said they were likely to share health information through social media and nearly 90% said they would trust the information they found there” (Baldelomar 2012). Young people will be inclined to use because, again, depending on the condition, will prevent embarrassment and judgment on their part by physicians. It would be easier for them to trust their own peers who have experience similar symptoms and trust the remedy that is provided.
Most doctors detest using social media as a means to reaching patients. Within time, and the increase popularity of social media, I believe that doctors will have no choice but to engage with patients on Facebook and Twitter to thwart the possibility of inaccurate information and remedies from spreading across the nation. References M. Cohen. (2011, October 6). Hold the Phone for Vital Signs. Retrieved from http://www. wpi. edu/news/20112/kichonapp. html R. Baldelomar. (2012, Apr 26). Patients Using Social Media for Health Advice Retrieved from http://blog.
quaintise. com/patients-using-social-media-for-health-advice/ Linhoff M (2011). Mobile computing in medical and healthcare industry. Retrieved from http:// http://subs. emis. de/LNI/Proceedings/Proceedings15/GI-Proceedings. 15-22. pdf Brady, James. , Sadler, Connie J. , Finney, Shannon. , Oakes, Reid. , Seymour, Dennis M. , & Woods, Beau (November 11, 2011). Security of Mobile Computing Devices in the Healthcare Environment. Retrieved from http://www. himss. org/content/files/PrivacySecurity/HIMSS_Mobility_Security_in_Healthcare_Final. pdf.