The convergence of personal health records and mobile communication devices may provide the mechanism to engage consumers to use technology to enhance self-care, taking cost out of the health care system, according to a new report from Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Deloitte.
Following on the heels of the state of California’s launch of the nation’s largest telehealth system last week, the Deloitte brief explores the potential benefits of mobile communication devices (MCDs), such as cell phones, smart phones and other mobile tablet personal computers, to collect environmental and patient-entered information and transmit it via the Internet to a personal health record (PHR). Combined with actionable decision support, the MCD-PHR combination, or “mPHR,” can analyze aggregate data to activate mobile, patient-specific output such as medication reminders, healthy habit tips, and medical bill reminders.
The brief provides an update on some major pilots underway using the technology, as well as an overview of key research findings on the topic, including the following statistics from the Deloitte 2010 Survey of Health Care Consumers:
- 50 percent of consumers want a personal monitoring device to alert and guide them to make improvements in their health or treat a condition.
- Approximately six out of 10 consumers (57 percent) want to access an online PHR connected to their doctor’s office.
- Twice as many Gen X and Y consumers want to access and maintain their PHRs using a mobile device than do baby boomers and senior citizens–indicating that younger generations are more likely to manage their health using MCDs.
In addition to the possible benefits of mPHRs, the brief also highlights the barriers and possible accelerators to widespread adoption.
The brief outlines four barriers, including a lack of widely-accepted single technical standards among both PHRs and electronic health records (EHRs), limiting the usefulness of mPHRs to integrate data and exchange it between different health care providers. Another barrier includes consumer adoption. According to the Deloitte 2010 Survey of Healthcare Consumers, only 10 percent of American adults currently use a PHR. Other obstacles include consumer privacy and security concerns, as well as provider concerns over liability and data integrity of PHRs.