Consumer-Mediated Mobile Solutions to Accelerate Health Information Exchange

As HIMSS13 approaches, we continue our pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts. Below is a guest contribution from Bettina Experton, MD, MPH, founder and CEO of Humetrix, an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, and a permanent member of the Faculty of the School of Medicine of Paris.

The federal Institute of Medicine has issued a call to reduce the annual toll of 100,000 preventable deaths and $750 billion in wasteful spending within the American healthcare system, caused largely by a lack of up-to-date patient information at the point of care.

While billions of dollars have been invested in establishing public and private health information exchanges (HIEs) to help solve these problems, studies have shown they are falling short of the vision of having an integrated patient record that can facilitate care as patients move between providers and different care settings.

In response to this failure, many healthcare industry CIOs are looking for alternative solutions, including using mobile apps to help patients coordinate and engage in their own care. In addition to offering a viable work-around for the industry’s interoperability issues, apps can help address the critical issues of preventable deaths, injuries and wasteful spending. So many people believe in the power of mobility to help drive and strengthen patient engagement and care coordination that the healthcare mobile applications market is expected to grow by over 70 percent in the next five years.

Among the latest mobile health apps to reach the market is iBlueButton®, which allows physicians and consumers to securely exchange health records and other clinical information at the point of care. The cross-platform data exchange solution seamlessly and securely transfers data between any enabled devices (iOS or Intel-powered Android® smartphones and tablets) and makes the health information actionable by presenting it to consumers and their providers in a usable and actionable format.

Other applications effectively engaging consumers in their care include iTriage® and ZocDoc®. These apps guide consumers through the healthcare process, from helping them check symptoms to choosing a provider available at a given time. The apps pride themselves on helping people find more cost effective care.

Much like HIEs, mobile apps can be a powerful care coordination tool, helping prevent costly adverse events like preventable hospital readmissions, while improving the overall quality of care delivered. The difference is that by putting the power of care in the palms of the patients’ hands, many of the technical and economic barriers that plague other HIE and care coordination solutions can be avoided, thus advancing the objectives of healthcare and health payment reform more quickly.

What do you think?