There are a lot of interesting things happening right now in the world of medicine with regard to technology. Radiology technicians have access to better imaging devices than they did in the past, and mobile computing is making it possible to send those images to doctors anywhere in the hospital — in an instant.
Mobile computing is going to make medicine more, well, mobile. No matter your career in health care, you are likely to find that technology is changing health care and the way things are done. Here are 17 ways that mobile computing is changing medicine and health care:
Diagnosis and Treatment
Mobile computing can actually help in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
- Doctor-terminal: When taking care of rounds, a doctor can use a mobile device as a terminal. It could make it easier to pass information to other doctors, and look at what treatment has been administered so far, and be a great consultative device during grand rounds.
- Medical reference: There are mobile applications that can help you reference conditions, as you look for diagnosis and other information about treatments. Doctors and nurses can use smart phones and tablet PCs to access information that can help them treat their patients more effectively. Everyone needs a refresher, and mobile computing puts it at your fingertips.
- Care plan editing: Care plans can be created and edited easily using mobile computing. It is also possible for other nurses and doctors to review care plans and make changes, or add notes and observations about how the process is working. These notes can be sent to others, or handed off as simply as the mobile computer is.
- Bedside x-rays: It is possible for doctors to refer to patient x-rays at the bedside, with the help of mobile computing. There is no need to try and hold x-rays up to the light when you have access to them right in your hand. Doctors can consult the x-rays — which can receive the images straight from the lab.
- Prescription entry: It is possible to use mobile computing for providing prescriptions. The doctor can use a wireless prescription system to get what is needed for patients. The patient doesn’t have to take in a slip of paper, nor does anyone have to make a phone call. The doctor simply enters the prescription into computer system via the tablet PC or smartphone, and it is sent to the pharmacy.
- Dosage calculations: No more looking around for a calculator and a paper and pencil. Instead, it is possible to find dosing calculators that can be carried with nurses and doctors via tablet computers and smartphones with the right applications. There are even specific applications for different dosing needs, such as for insulin or for use in pediatrics wards.
- Histology review: It is possible for doctors and nurses to do a histology with greater ease. Being able to see, in hand, the structures related to tissues and organs, on a microscopic level can only enhance diagnosis and treatment.
It is possible for doctors, nurses, technicians and others to have better access to information about patients, thanks to electronic health records. It is even possible for patients to better access their own records with the help of mobile computing.
- Access patient information: It is possible to access patient information with the help of mobile computing and electronic health records. No more relying on charts. And passing information on to others is easier as well, thanks to the fact that it can be called up from the system, from any approved mobile computing device.
- Patient access: Patients can also better manage their own health, thanks to mobile computing. They can look up their own information, find symptoms and even double check to make sure that their information is accurate. The ability to more easily access their own health records has the potential to put consumers in better control of their health and information.
- Real time records editing: Not only can health professionals access electronic health records, but they can also edit them in real time. This means that changes are made immediately, without having to wait for a human to look at paper copies of records, and then input them — or even change multiple paper copies.
- Coding application: It is possible to code the patient’s treatment information for better billing later. Indeed, having mobile computing available makes it possible for nurses and doctors to enter the billing codes immediately, and the legibility makes it easier to verify. Patients can even verify if necessary.
- Charge capture: With mobile computing, there is a good chance that there will no longer be a need to head to another part of the hospital for payment. Bedside charge capture is possible with some smart phones and with tablet PCs. That streamlines the process, allowing for co-pays to be made at the hospital or clinic with ease, and access to health insurance information is also at the fingertips of health care professionals.
- Monitor vitals: There are smart phone applications and tablet PCs that can help monitor patient vitals, sending the information to doctors and nurses anywhere they are. This makes it possible to keep tabs on patients and their vital information remotely.
There are a number of useful communication functions offered by mobile computing in health care. Some of the useful ways mobile computing is changing communication in health care include:
- Alerts: Patient alerts can easily be sent through mobile computing devices. Doctors and nurses can receive emergency alerts on their tablet PCs, letting them know when a patient’s vitals are slipping, or if some other problem arises.
- Reminders: It is easy to get distracted in a health care setting, with everything that is going on. Mobile computing can be used to send reminders to health care staff. Additionally, there are applications designed for consumers so that they can reminded to take their medication via smart phone.
- Consultation: It is possible for doctors to engage in consultations with others in order to get second opinions. Additionally, it is also possible for members of a health care team to more easily communicate. For those with more complex medical issues, different players in the health care treatment plan can better coordinate, making health more efficient.
- Patient visitors: There are studies that show that relationships can help with healthy living and recovery from illness. Mobile computing can bring visitors to the patient, day or night, without the visitors being physical present. It is even possible to see images of the “visitor”. Interaction with the outside world can be brought to patients through mobile computing.