We often write about healthcare trends, healthcare technology, healthcare data, and healthcare innovation. Some trends are more hype than maturity. This is in large part because healthcare, despite recent transformational accelerations driven by government intervention, moves slowly and requires time to change course. Some trends, however, are being fully realized today by necessity. One realization of trends in healthcare is the requirement for secure mobile messaging. Mobile messaging is being driven to adoption in healthcare by what seems like a perfect storm of trends.
1. Clinicians are mobile.
Have you ever spent a day with a clinician (nurse, doctor, MA, etc)? My only advice is to wear good shoes. I’m still shocked by the pace in which clinicians—even the ones with legs much smaller than mine—walk. They are constantly on the go, moving from room to room, building to building, floor to floor, and even site to site. They bounce between patients, administrators, other clinicians, conferences, and families. Clinicians need access to data and resources on the go.
2. Care is team-based.
Clinical medicine has become increasingly specialized and largely shift-based. Caring for patients now, more than ever, is a team sport. Whether it’s to curbside a specialist about a finding or test result or to more effectively handoff patients at the end of a shift, clinicians need to work more together to care for patients. Atul Guwande put it better than I can in his fantastic New Yorker piece about physicians as pit crew people. Clinicians need better ways to collaborate on patient care.
3. Clinicians and patients overwhelmingly use smartphones.
The Pew Research has a treasures trove of data on mobile adoption and Epocrates specifically has great data on clinician use of mobile devices. It’s not just young physicians and patients that have and use smartphones. If my wife’s 84 yr old Greek Yia Yia can text pictures of a rash to my wife for a consult, then patients are ready to use phones to interact with providers.
4. The business model is shifting from volume to value.
Increasingly, through new payment models like bundled payments, accountable / captivated care, and even trends towards subscription-based medicine, healthcare providers and organizations are being compensated based on the overall value of care they deliver to patients, not simply the volume of care. Delivering value in care requires more than 10 minute appointment slots. It requires more touch points between providers, patients, and even administrators.
5. Engaging patients in care.
Tied to several of the trends above, patient engagement is major priority for most health systems. Healthcare can learn from trends in other industries that clearly show increased engagement of consumers through the use of mobile tools - both messaging and apps.
Despite those trends, and the compelling case for mobile messaging in healthcare, there are challenges that remain for adoption. Some challenges are harder to overcome - like answering questions around where mobile messaging fits into clinical workflow between providers and patients. These workflow challenges need to be overcome within an organization.
Why we created—and open-sourced—HIPAAGRAM
Other challenges exist in the form of concerns about security and compliance when it comes to mobile messaging. To address those challenges, we’re very excited to announce HIPAAGRAM, a free, open source, HIPAA compliant mobile messaging solution.
HIPAAGRAM, initially available on iOS, is a mobile app with all data stored on Datica. Datica is HIPAA compliant and HITRUST CSF Certified, so you can rest assured the data is in good hands.
One of the exciting things about HIPAAGRAM is that it’s open source and can be customized however you’d like. If you do customize the app, we’d love it if would consider open sourcing your changes and we’ll publicize them so others can benefit. Better yet, if you want to build a version for Android or Web we’d be happy to do a post about it.