Many health organizations lack clear strategy for mobile initiatives

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 8, 2012

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Nearly all health care organizations are implementing some type of mobile health effort. But many are doing so without a specific driver, according to a study by Medullan, an information technology consulting firm based in Cambridge, Mass.

Medullan asked 106 health care organizations and insurers about their mobile health plans. Nearly one in four did not have a specific driver for pursuing a mobile health initiative, and 32% said that lack of a clear strategy or execution plan was their biggest barrier.

The survey did not include small practices. But Ahmed Albaiti, CEO of Medullan, said many small practices also lack a plan because they are at the mercy of their vendors, parent or affiliated organizations, or their patients.

“Mobile health” can mean many things to many people, Albaiti said. Small practices should define what it means to them and identify areas where a mobile health solution would make sense.

For small practices, mobile initiatives are generally categorized in two ways: mobile care delivery and mobile patient engagement. Strategies around mobile care delivery are generally reliant on vendors building mobile components to other clinical systems, such as electronic health records.

Adoption of patient engagement tools usually are driven by patients, who find and download commercial apps they are interested in using. Since most practices do not have the resources to launch their own line of apps for patients, a practice initiative can be built around helping patients pick the best apps to use, Albaiti said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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