Top Digital Trends for Health Information Technology in 2013 – Telehealth

English: Charlotte Harbor, FL, August 29, 2004...

RN provides health services at Veterans Administration’s Mobile Clinic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Telehealth, electronic medical records, gamification of medical training, retail self-care – these are just a few of the trending topics showing that 2013 continues to be a dynamic year for the convergence of social networking, mobile computing, big data analytics, and cloud computing in the area of health information technology.

Both the medical industry and the consumer market are driving the adoption of digital health information technology solutions, and even government healthcare initiatives are serving as models for the private health care delivery system.

Telehealth is expected to double by 2016

Once relegated to rural healthcare, telehealth is expected to more than double by 2016. Although this growth has been a long time coming, there are several factors, including rising costs, provider shortages, and increased demand for healthcare, that are expected to accelerate the growth of telehealth in 2013.

Consider the following telehealth trends noted by ATA CEO, Jonathan Linkous:

  • More than five million Americans had their medical images read remotely last year;
  • Approximately 10% of all the intensive care unit beds in the U.S. use telemedicine;
  • According to MobiHealthNews, there are more than 13,000 consumer health applications for the iPhone;
  • One million Americans benefit from remote cardiac monitoring for implantable devices or for checking on a suspected cardiac arrhythmia; and
  • The American Telemedicine Association estimates that more than 10 million Americans have directly benefited from some sort of telemedicine service this past year, probably double from just three years ago.

One of the earliest patient groups to benefit from telehealth solutions is service veterans, and the VA is moving aggressively in 2013 to add new services and expand existing services with mobile medical apps, home video visits, and educational iPads for healthcare providers.

Given that as many as 70% of doctor office visits and 40% of emergency room visits, according the the AMA, are for information of matters that can be handled over the phone, telehealth makes sense for simple consults and can help keep costs down and better utilize healthcare resources.

At their best, the latest digital health information technology solutions allows patients to live independently, monitor their conditions remotely, and notify their healthcare team automatically. They can foster increased collaboration among providers and patients and improve treatment plan monitoring and compliance.

Yet, there are pitfalls to be avoided in this dynamic area of digital health information technology, as in the case of wearable devices that offer medical diagnoses to patients who are looking for excuses not to visit a clinician. Technology providers must work closely with clinicians and experts to ensure they are developing applications which are safe for end-users, who may not be aware of the consequences of misuse.

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About DeAnna Davidson

DeAnna Davidson is a proven technologist and business leader who is passionate about the power of mobile computing to revolutionize a business or industry, and dedicated to helping organizations use mobile, wireless, and web technologies to their advantage.

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