Last week MobiHealthNews hosted its first webinar of 2012. During my presentation I shared my 12 trends for 2012. Our co-presenter, Aaron Kaufman from Kony Healthcare Solutions also shared his take on the year ahead. Check out the complimentary, hour-long webinar on demand right here.
1.) The Adoption of Smartphones and Tablets. This is by far the most obvious trend because it has been so steady for the past few years. It is still an important one to consider. By the end of 2011, Nielsen expected half of the US population to own a smartphone. At the end of 2011 62 percent of 25 to 34 year olds had smartphones. About 53 percent of 35 to 44 year olds did. The fastest growing age group for smartphone adoption in the past year was the 55 to 64 year old age group. Adoption among this group went from 17 percent to 30 percent a year later. Similarly the iPad has had the fastest adoption rate of any consumer electronics device in history. We know that now more than 80 percent of physicians in the US have smartphones. Between 30 percent and 50 percent have tablets now depending on who you ask.
2.) Increased FDA Clarity. This was the big trend of 2011: The FDA proposed guidelines for how it translates existing medical device regulations into the world of apps, smartphones, and tablets. For the most part these guidelines were well-received, but a number of questions remained over where exactly the FDA would draw its lines. The mHealth Regulatory Coalition recently asked the FDA to re-publish an updated set of proposals that take into account changes it should make based on comments from the industry. While it is unclear whether the FDA will publish new guidelines for a new commenting period, it is expected that the FDA will publish either the final guidelines or a new draft set by year-end. While the regulatory discussion will continue to be an important one — there are still a number of loose ends including how the FDA views clinical decision support, for example — this won’t be the primary focus of mobile health discussions in 2012.
3.) Consumer Devices in the Healthcare Enterprise. This is the trend that is really at the heart of the mobile health IT discussion for healthcare providers. While a good number of healthcare facilities are deploying consumer devices like the Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and in rarer cases Android devices, for the most part these devices are being brought into work by healthcare workers. BYOD is the name of the trend and its a big one for everyone working in all areas of IT today. The big issues stemming from this trend include security concerns, HIPAA compliance, and user experience. Security solutions and broader mobile device management solutions will find a lot of customers in healthcare this year. The other issue brought about by BYOD is accessing enterprise apps. As the Seattle Hospital’s iPad debacle last year showed, these devices aren’t enough — they require well-designed native apps to ensure that providers will use them for accessing EHRs and other HIS apps. I expect design and usability concerns vs. security concerns to be a huge headache for providers this year. Finally, these consumer devices provide access to distracting consumer apps. Healthcare providers are being distracted by these devices while on the job. While this might be controversial, I think this is a rather absurd concern. We trust them to do so much, we should trust them to know when not to be surfing Facebook. Keep reading>>