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AT&T reveals top 5 healthcare IT, mHealth trends for 2013

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

Before the kickoff of this year’s mHealth Summit, AT&T is revealing its top-five list for 2013. The forecast, “Looking Ahead: Top Five Healthcare IT Trends for 2013,” places a strong emphasis on mobile health (mHealth) and integrated solutions that draw providers, patients, and payers closer together to streamline accessibility to care. “Physicians make better treatment decisions and predictions based on better data, so we must have better access to information when patients need it the most,” said Geeta Nayyar, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for  AT&T ForHealth in a public statement. “These kinds of technologies have the potential to help people make the shift from being reactive to being proactive with their care.”

Top on the list is a shift in the approach to developing mHealth applications that facilitate increased patient engagement. The company expects a movement toward sponsored and away from unsponsored mobile apps, which will be created and managed by payers, providers, employers, and other organizations.

Next on the list of 2013 trends is greater healthcare data migration into the cloud. Not only will the cloud enable organizations to be more flexible and capable of scaling up, but it will also prepare them for what experts and policy-makers believe to be the next phase of health IT, data analytics.

Coming in third is expected growth in remote patient monitoring on a large scale. With many healthcare organizations participating in or preparing to form accountable care organizations (ACOs) or other models for managed care, their success will be measured by their ability to reduce costs associated with readmissions and enable improved patient-centered outcomes through preventive care.

As organizations begin integrating providers and systems, they will demand more from their mHealth platforms. The fourth trend focuses on the ability of mHealth apps to connect with other devices, apps, and data in order to complete the picture of healthcare. Vendor-neutral or vendor-agnostic sharing should allow information to move between solutions so long as appropriate standards are in place.

Last on the list but perhaps most compelling is the rise of telehealth to increase patient access to providers. Based on projections that the number of physicians will decrease over the next five to ten years with 69,000 and 130,600 fewer providers estimated in 2015 and 2025, respectively, telemedicine  would be most equipped to transform this lack of availability into a viable health IT–mediated environment.

With the 2012 mHealth Summit running today through Wednesday, stay tuned for more mHealth and mobile health IT news.

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