Let's face it, most radiologists like their technology toys. We are mostly geeks at heart. Being surrounded by monitors, radiology workstations, and imaging modalities all day long is just not enough. We have to have our e-Readers to read our journal articles, our smartphones to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues, and our tablet computers to at least appear to stay productive and connected 'on the go.'
But what about real work? Are we actually reading studies on our iPads, yet? Is that even right? Ever since the FDA cleared the first diagnostic imaging application on a mobile device, (1) new diagnostic imaging apps for smartphones and tablets have flooded the wireless airwaves. The imaging vendors are on a warpath to develop ways to embrace the mobility fever and feed the consumer-driven frenzy.
Some may have expected the mobility frenzy to die down, especially in radiology, where clearly, most of our actual work really does need a full set of applications and technologies (eg, picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), radiology information systems (RIS), computer-aided detection (CAD), and voice recognition) that can only be provided by our diagnostic workstations in the reading room. However, the mobile maelstrom shows no signs of calming. According to Gartner, mobile computing in 2013 poses more challenges than ever for ClOs who will struggle with hundreds of new smartphones and tablets, face business demands for ever-more-sophisticated apps, and fight to secure corporate information on employeeowned devices. In fact, physicians are 250% more likely to own a tablet than are other consumers, with 80% of doctors found to be using smartphones and medical apps. (2) Indeed, mHealth is poised to explode even further. There are about 320 million mobile phones in the United States, and an estimated 1.7 million hospital beds--that's about 185 phones for every bed. (2)
So, onwards and upwards we go!
Quick, choose two out of the following: Cost, quality, access
It is an often-quoted fallacy that from the trifecta of cost, quality and access, we can at best, just achieve 2 out of the 3. Most health care executives would never ignore costs, and most clinicians would never disregard quality. So in this presumed 'battle,' access loses out. The reality of course is that all 3 are critical. Mobility enables wider access to clinical content, such as information from the electronic medical records (EMR) and images from the PACS. Indeed, as we push ahead with the paradigm of coordinated care, access becomes increasingly important not just for the radiologist, but also for the ordering physicians, the ancillary clinical staff (eg, radiology technologists, PACS administrators, nurses) and even for the patients themselves. Especially for the patients.
Mobility, after all, is a trend that is clearly consumer-driven. And as health care organizations grapple with enterprise mobility strategies, it is critical to ensure that patients are not left as an afterthought. Engaging patients in their own care is critical to ensuring compliance, and the correct path forward is really in empowering patients with...