Health Care, IT Still Doing a Good Job of Pushing Each Other

Carl Weinschenk
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Key Health Care IT Trends

The good news is that primary focus now seems to be squarely on improving the overall quality of health care and the reduction of human errors.

There are a handful of verticals that drive the broader world of mobile devices, operating structures and applications. These verticals - health care, finance, education, the government and military - specialize in various areas and are great showcases of what can be expected down the road.

Health care in general and mobile health care in particular are among the most important of these leading indicators. After all, everything is in play: Providers need to offer the highest level of electronic and physical security, crystal-clear graphics, sophisticated Internet working with billing, research and other areas and the type of machine-to-machine communications used, for instance, to track assets and monitor patients in facilities and on an outpatient basis.

There also is money in it. Modern tools can cut expenditures, of course, and the implementation of electronic health record (EHR) - a related subsdiscipline that is one part of the overall mosaic - can bring plenty of goodies from the government.

In short, health care can be called a mobile device and application development lab. That reality comes through clearly in the eWeek report on Frost & Sullivan's new study, "Mobile Devices and Healthcare: What's New, What Fits and How Do You Decide?"

The crux of the story is that health care mobile device arsenals need to be extremely heterogeneous. They will include tablets, smartphones, laptops and a variety of other devices. Luckily for doctors, nurses (and, of course, patients) these tools are rolling out at an extraordinary pace. Proving them through the crucible of health care - where people's lives are at stake and where failure can lead to an avalanche of legal and regulatory trouble - is very valuable to the rest of the telecommunications and IT industries.

The eWeek piece highlights how Frost & Sullivan sees the entire field, with a focus on smartphones, tablets, push-to-talk and M2M. The bottom line is that modern telecom and health care do a good job of pushing each other.

The relationship is tight and growing closer. For instance, the mHealth conference, held by the World Congress in late July, focused on the use of telecommunications as a preventative measure rather than a way to react to health issues. Such a strategy, says Heather Clancy's report at smartplanet, will cut costs. Her report focuses on four lessons that a company by the name of Frog Design learned in its dealings with mobile health in the developing world.

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