Apr 052012
 

Radhika Narayanan a new recruit to the HANDI community shares his thoughts with us. We welcome stimulating pieces like this for publication please email us info@handihealth.org if you would like to submit something.

Core Technology Enablers’: New Horizons in Health Informatics

The adoption of Information technology and communication has proven to be a breakthrough to solve current and expected future challenges in healthcare. This is apparently visible with the ‘m-health’ or the mobile technology which is perhaps the only technology being readily accepted by the healthcare professionals and thus turning out to be a great source of user empowerment. The Apps phenomenon is steadily creeping into and across all verticals including healthcare being one of the prominent sectors.

Mobile apps have a vital role to play in healthcare enabling efficient interaction between the physicians and patients and thus transforming the way diseases are diagnosed, monitored and treated. Thus mobile devices such as mobile phones, Patient Monitoring devices, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and other wireless devices have been used by Health professionals to extract information on drugs, drug-drug interactions and relevant reference materials. This has led to development of efficient treatment plan for the patients, the key factor being the availability of health information data all round the clock. This is possible as a result of the use of core utilities of these devices such as  voice and short messaging service (SMS)as well as more complex functionalities and applications including general packet radio service (GPRS), third and fourth generation mobile telecommunications (3G and 4G systems), global positioning system (GPS) and Bluetooth technology.

Besides the sleek and slender looks of Healthcare Apps, it becomes equally essential to abide the security and privacy concerns daunting healthcare. High level of architecture is the need of the hour to solve the problems around security and privacy concerns. There is room for improvement in this area and any advances in this could be very advantages for encouraging the use of Healthcare apps.

The primary business of any healthcare industry is the compilation of information across various systems; these also include compilation of patient information. To perform this compilation in an error-prone manner it is very essential to have a robust technology in place. Perhaps Modular architectures open APIs and App Orchestrations could help to achieve the same. It can also be accomplished through the provision of an open platform with interfaces to third party applications. This approach could help in development of efficient Healthcare Apps which would meet expectations of any large healthcare organisation.

Simultaneously with the native medical apps revolution the presence of web apps have been equally predominant in healthcare, with ‘Web 2.0’ being one of the classic examples. So the question here is Do we envisage the co-existence of both native medical apps and web apps? What could be the plausible shortcomings in both these Apps?  Is there any probability for the companies to evolve their platforms and APIs to compete with the browser standards?

The growing adaption of medical apps provides a myriad of opportunities in efficient healthcare delivery. The evolvement of medical technology has led to availability of large number of new products.  However it is also equally important to address issues on patient safety and data confidentially which is the primary concern for physicians.

Can we envisage a bright future for the Healthcare Apps with involvement of our developmental strategies?

About the Author - Radhika Narayanan

A highly self-motivated and ambitious professional with considerable experience as a Business Analyst in the life sciences and health care sectors. Areas of interest include Health Informatics research with special focus on Hospital information Management Systems and Telehealth. Currently student of elearning- Health Informatics, at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd).

Further Reading

http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2011/10/10/steve-jobs-health-care-apps-me/

http://androidmedicalapps.com/category/apps-for-doctors/

http://medicaliphone.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/medical-app-survey-where-do-medical.html

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240105413/NHS-invites-software-developers-to-create-healthcare-apps

http://www.achronicdose.com/

http://www.lynuxworks.com/solutions/medical/index.php

http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-Norway/Local%20Assets/Documents/Publikasjoner%202012/deloitte_openmobile2012.pdf

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/162/health-industry-smartphones-tablets

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