The outlook for mobile apps in healthcare looks bright

mobihealthnews: “The market opportunity for mobile apps in the healthcare enterprise is currently $100 million, according to a recent report from Chilmark Research. Because of the rapid evolution of mobile devices, physician demand, and the healthcare enterprise’s need to improve quality and efficiencies, the market will climb to $1.7 billion in three years time, Chilmark Research predicts.” – In case you missed it, that’s billion, with a “b”.

The article goes on to talk briefly about the lack of tie-in between clinical reference applications and enterprise information systems in healthcare. “The core focus of Chilmark’s latest report is on enterprise mHealth Apps that link into a healthcare enterprise’s HIS including EHR, CPOE, eRx, CDS and Charge Capture. Chilmark predicts that these types of apps will be “competitive differentiators” for healthcare enterprises who seek to not only meet meaningful use requirements and structure themselves for payment reform, but also to improve internal workflow for higher efficiency.” I’m not sure what Chilmark has in mind as clinical reference material has long been available outside the enterprise without any problem. I’m not sure I see any dire need to integrate drug information references into healthcare information system. It’s a different story however if we begin talking about clinical decision support (CDS), which is frequently limited to pharmacy information systems. Even with the increased interest in CDS, we still have a long way to go in developing these systems.

Some applications may not belong as part of an integrated solution in healthcare. Many pharmacy systems I’ve used during my career have had some form of drug information available within the application, but I’ve always preferred to go to external resources like Lexi-Comp or UpToDate. The information is often more complete or offers tidbits not found elsewhere.

With that said, the picture becomes somewhat blurry as we move away from legacy style desktop applications and begin using more cloud-based or web-based applications. As we move toward the web and away from the desktop, applications will become more component based. I don’t think we’ll see as much “integration” as we will “interoperability”, in which case clinical information components within a healthcare information system would make sense.

I agree that the mobile space is the place to be. I’m just not sure that all mobile applications have to be integrated into enterprise systems.

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