Rasheed Al Omari, principal business solutions strategist- South Europe, Middle East, and Africa, VMware. Rasheed Al Omari, principal business solutions strategist- South Europe, Middle East, and Africa, VMware.

By Rasheed Al Omari

Data analytics, when combined with mobility, opens up new opportunities that can generate additional revenues for the different stakeholders of the ecosystem.

Healthcare providers have a responsibility to deliver an efficient and effective service to patients, from point of injury, through to diagnosis and follow up care. Yet this remains a challenge many are struggling to overcome, with ‘pain points’ in the supply chain continuing to prevent a more holistic journey for the patient.

With the increasing adoption of mobile technology across the spectrum, the industry is starting to see small incremental changes within healthcare innovation practices. According to a new report by Deloitte, the global market for digital health was worth £23bn in 2014 and is expected to almost double to £43bn by 2018.

Technological advancements such as ‘tap and go’ access to static workstations, development of smart pills and portable diagnostics are starting to be seen across the country. However, it’s the way in which the healthcare ecosystem as a whole could be revolutionised by mobile technology that will be key.

While talk of innovation is welcome, the reality is that this comes against an industry backdrop of dwindling budgets and relentless pressure to reduce costs. Those implementing new technology for patients, meanwhile, will also need to bear in mind that an ageing population and the varying adoption rates of mobility services will be further challenges to contend with. So how do organisations implement these new mobile technologies that can drive critical operations, power the core team and ultimately support patients’ wellbeing?

Taking advantage of a data hungry industry

Data analytics, when combined with mobility, opens up new opportunities for healthcare organisations. Artificial intelligence, for example, is being used to detect health patterns and predict pandemics before they occur, driving optimisation of clinical and operational effectiveness.

The rise of wearable devices provides another interesting trend. Increasingly, patients are embracing the use of mobile devices as part of their own healthcare regime; for example, using wearable fitness trackers to monitor their own heart rate, step count and sleep patterns. This data can be used for remote patient monitoring by hospital staff, as we move towards more continuous systems of patient care. Healthcare providers in the private sector should also see the benefits of capturing patient activity through wearable devices, because they can use and analyse the data to help them shape their insurance and policy costs – providing a more bespoke offering for the patient.

Capturing patient data from mobile devices can also enable doctors and clinicians to create Electronic Patients Stats and a complete 360-degree view in real time of their patient. ‘Tap and go’ access to any secure terminal helps to access patient data faster and determine what type of care is appropriate.

Healthcare apps can now capture more data than ever before – from blood test results to medication information, glucose readings, medical images – all empowering physicians to deliver a better quality of service both pre, during and post triage of patients. Better mobile solutions provide more data, which in turn gives healthcare organisations the platform to act and run more efficiently.

Meanwhile, mobile devices can enable patients to have remote video consultations, reducing the number of hospital visits to only when they are necessary. Looking ahead, augmented and mixed reality are also aspects of mobile innovation that we will start to see more frequently in hospitals, particularly those focused on teaching.

But while these innovations sound ideal, what does this look like in practice? All of them rely on data being transferred between patient, healthcare provider and the wider industry – all of which have significant security challenges to overcome.