mHI's proposal for restructuring around mHealth

By Brian Dolan
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Boston-based mHealth Initiative has outlined its proposal for how the U.S. healthcare system could be restructured to save money and increase quality of care by implementing mobiles throughout the healthcare value chain. mHI calls it "participatory healthcare." mHI calls for this restructuring to occur over the next decade. 

The executive summary of the mHI's restructuring ideas are included below, and serves as a nice outline for key uses of mobiles in healthcare. One point, however, sticks with me: "Increasingly people will use Web-based services as a second opinion and for self assessment of their health status. They will be encouraged to change their life styles and improve and maintain their health. mDevices will offer the power of the Internet to people's finger tips. Substantial savings are expected from such systems as they become available in mid-2009."

During the year preceding June 2008 the wireless industry raked in some $27.5 billion from mobile users accessing the Internet from their mobile phones. There are plenty of health information sites around. I'd say the Internet is already at people's finger tips, no? 

Read more for the exec summary of the mHI's proposal...

Proposal to Demonstrate How the US Healthcare System can be Restructured to Save Money and Increase the Quality of Care through Participatory Healthcare

Executive Summary

This is a proposal to transform communications and the structure of the healthcare system into a partnership between patients and providers. The combination of such changes with new technology opportunities offered through cell phones and other mobile phone, computing and communication devices (cell phones, smart phones, PDAs, and others called for the purpose of this document mDevices) enables participatory healthcare, a major healthcare improvement and restructuring to be implemented over the next decade.

Participatory care is a new patient-centric approach that will enhance cost control, quality of care, and patient/provider satisfaction.

1) New communication based on email and text messages will make the system more efficient, reduce the need for face-to-face visits, and increase compliance. 
2) It is envisioned that an increasing number of people will carry a copy of their essential health information on their mDevice. This will enable them to send relevant information to the provider before going for services, thus reducing duplicate tests and medical errors, and enhancing quality of care. 
3) Increasingly people will use Web-based services as a second opinion and for self assessment of their health status. They will be encouraged to change their life styles and improve and maintain their health. mDevices will offer the power of the Internet to people's finger tips. Substantial savings are expected from such systems as they become available in mid-2009.  
4) Point-of-care computing allows clinicians to use mDevices in the exam room and other places to access information, document healthcare, and receive decision support information as well as guidelines and protocols.
5) Disease management based on mobile phones has demonstrated substantial savings and improved care processes by empowering the patient and creating better communication between patients and providers.
6) The use of mDevices can produce substantial savings in Emergency Medical Services as shown already in some cities where such systems have been implemented.
7) mHealth applications can create better surveillance systems for public health and will be the basis for notifying population sectors in case of natural disasters, bioterrorism, or other public health incidents.

Participatory healthcare encompasses both changing clinicians' workflow and empowering patients to be full participants in the care process. This patient-centric process goes far beyond general proposals for patient-centric systems as it proposes substantial changes in workflow, financial systems, and disease management in order to encourage and facilitate patient involvement. These changes in combination with low-cost user-friendly mobile phone technologies and financial incentives for more communication and for keeping patients healthier will make healthcare more efficient, patient-friendly, and cost effective.

mHealth Initiative Inc. (mHI) proposes to be the organizing and managing organization to demonstrate these benefits through national or regional projects that will educate patients to participate in their health process with personal health record information on their mDevice. Further, mHI will guide providers and patients to new communication systems and disease management in order to create the systems environment that makes participatory health the successful healthcare system of the future. mHI will help providers to implement the necessary changes in workflow and work with payers and other stakeholders to make this vision a reality. 

For more information contact:

Claudia Tessier: c.tessier@mhealthiniative.org or 617-331-4140
Peter Waegemann: p.waegemann@mhealthinitative.org or 617-642-0010

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