Sept 4, 2014

In healthcare, the document is no longer a static piece of paper filled with doctor’s notations and barely legible handwriting. It’s now an active platform, capable of drawing data from a number of different sources and incorporating new information to bolster the record at a moment’s notice.

Healthcare providers have moved past the idea that mHealth is a luxury and are now demanding just about everything in a mobile format, according to Dan West, healthcare solutions manager for Hyland Software.

That’s especially true in enterprise content management (ECM) solutions, which can be found in everything from patient registration to EMR platforms to billing solutions.

“Mobile gives us a platform to adopt to their needs,” said West, whose OnBase product is one of the more popular ECM solutions on the market. “And they’re all looking for that next level now – dynamic forms.”

Here are the five ways West sees mHealth and ECM intersecting:

1. Embedded videos. From registration to post-discharge instructions, patients often don’t understand all they’re being told. They’re confused by the medical terminology, or not listening close enough to get all the necessary details. Embedding educational videos into the document allows the patient to complete a more accurate registration form before the visit, or to better comply with a doctor’s instructions after the visit’s over.

2. Illustrating a process. The oft-used saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” comes into play here. Imagine a nurse at a long-term care facility trying to explain a lingering wound or recurring rash to a clinician at a hospital. How much better would that explanation be if the clinician could see a photograph of the problem – or a series of photographs that trace the progress of the wound or rash over several days or weeks?

3. Capturing vitals. This one’s sure to be debated for years. Do doctors want or need physiological data taken from personal devices and wearable monitors, or will that just clutter up the EMR to the point of making it useless? According to West, that’s one of the driving forces in ECM management – using analytics to separate the usable data from the chaff and giving clinicians just what they need. More importantly, though, the advent of mHealth devices is giving clinicians access to more data, including real-time vital signs, and that can create a more accurate health record.

4. A more accurate report. Sometimes a picture isn’t worth its vocabulary weight. Would a doctor prefer an image, or a specialist’s notes that interpret that image in concise detail? “In mobile, brevity is paramount,” West said.

5. The approval process. Mobility allows all of the members of the care team to participate in real-time. Everyone can view documents, amend them, highlight relevant facts, ask questions and issue their approvals. An important care document can trigger alerts that prompt caregivers to take action. No more waiting for the right message to get to the right doctor or nurse and passing around a piece of paper that everyone has to review and sign.

As ECM and mHealth continue to evolve, West says, providers will be looking for more value from the information contained in documents. They’ll need predictive analytics that help them identify trends and danger zones – in short, “giving them more than historical information.”

“Now that you’ve got all that data, you want to extrapolate from it in a meaningful way,” he said.


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