We are on the cusp of a new era of healthcare technology and services. The incremental reduction of reimbursement for services, anticipated increase of patient volume and reimbursement tied to clinical outcomes is the tipping point of driving healthcare providers to rethink their service delivery model. Healthcare is historically slow to change the manner they do business until it is tied to reimbursement. An example is the shift in the market when managed care was introduced driving organizations to change their business practices. The current market shift of tying clinical outcomes to reimbursement is forcing healthcare providers to explore how they need to change their business practices to be profitable and serve the community in a quality manner.
mHealth technology is quickly moving towards market adoption and commoditization. We are seeing numerous prototypes and proof-of-concept solutions where a smart phone with software and biometric sensors are delivering real-time physiological information to remote clinical personnel. This type of inexpensive technology creates a platform to monitor patients with a chronic condition remotely. Healthcare providers are incented to look closely at this technology and how it can be tied to the delivery of care. Their focus is oriented towards how to cost effectively manage the care of patients especially those with chronic diseases that require a higher level of services. One approach healthcare providers will explore is a centralized clinical monitoring center. Clinically trained personnel monitor patient medical data and respond to alerts when a physiological monitor detects a potential medical problem.
The lowest cost and most profitable medical care delivery is keeping the patient in a home setting while monitoring them remotely. Therefore, clinical personnel can intercede when a problem is detected. Additionally, clinical personnel interact with the patient remotely to ensure they are following their medication regiment and medical visits. This is a cost effective approach to deliver preventative healthcare. What has changed is that mHealth is the enabling technology of telemedicine to redefine the delivery of care to serve the community. This type of solution creates a cost effective service delivery model while providing scalability to serve a large community of patients.