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Mobile use trending toward patient care


The next big step for healthcare providers who use smart mobile devices for routine business activities will take them into the realm of more advanced, care-specific uses, according to results of a newly released study from CompTIA, a non-profit trade association for the IT industry.

The findings of CompTIA's Fourth Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities study point to healthcare providers moving beyond email and scheduling functions to uses such as medication monitoring and management, enabling remote access to health records and assisting patients in managing insurance claims.

While most healthcare providers are in the early stages of adopting and incorporating mobile health and other technologies into their workflow, CompTIA reported, the research points to high levels of interest and experimentation. Overall, a net three in four healthcare providers surveyed believe mobility is having a positive impact on healthcare.

“It takes time for emerging technologies to mature and for users to make sufficient progress along the learning curve before the benefits of innovation can be realized,” said Tim Herbert, vice president of research at CompTIA, in a release accompanying the study results. “We’re now beginning to see this happen in the healthcare sector.”

One in five physicians with a mobile device capable of supporting apps uses health- or medical-related apps on a daily basis, according to the CompTIA study. Over the next 12 months, healthcare providers expect to increase their usage of medical apps to the point where 62 percent are relying on such apps at least a few times per week.

The research also suggests healthcare providers may become more than just mobile app users; they may be viewed as an app resource. Thirty-one percent of physicians reported receiving app-related questions or recommendation requests from patients at least occasionally.

CompTIA noted that, as healthcare providers expand their use of mobile devices and apps, new security measures will need to be implemented. But the study suggests the level of concern among healthcare providers may not be in line with the ever-growing scope of security risks. Just 17 percent of healthcare providers report having a comprehensive mobile device policy in place. An additional 20 percent have implemented partial policies.

“Even if healthcare providers are not putting personal health information at risk, they may be setting themselves up for other types of disruptions associated with insufficient mobile security policies and practices,” Herbert said in the release.

Although fewer than half of healthcare providers acknowledge being fully prepared for their transition to electronic health record (EHR) systems, according to CompTIA, the adoption of EMR/EHRsystems continues to make gains. Study data indicates that about six in 10 healthcare providers have at least some elements of an EMR/EHR system in place.

Additionally, the research generally points to a more positive attitude toward EMR/EHR systems among healthcare providers this year compared to previous years. A net satisfaction rate in the low 60s indicates acceptable performance, but leaves a sizable segment of users seeking improvement in areas such as ease of use, greater compatibility and interoperability with other systems, speed, and better remote access and mobility features.

The study compiled results of an online survey of 375 doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers and administrators conducted in November 2012. The complete study is available at no cost to CompTIA members who can access the report on the organization's website or by contacting .