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52% of US hospitals use 3 or more connected health technologies, HIMSS study finds

Mobile health - including patient engagement apps, mobile-optimized patient portals and remote patient monitoring - is on the rise.

Bill Siwicki, Managing Editor, Healthcare IT News

A telehealth platform by American WellA telehealth platform by American Well

LAS VEGAS -- A new survey from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in partnership with the Personal Connected Health Alliance claims 52 percent of hospitals currently use three or more connected health technologies while 47 percent are looking to expand the connected health technologies they use, citing tech that enables such services as telehealth, concierge, patient-generated health data and secure text messaging.

The organizations announced the survey results Wednesday at the HIMSS16 Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas.

The 2016 HIMSS Connected Health Survey, which polled 227 IT, informatics and clinical professionals in U.S. hospitals and health systems, evaluated the use of seven technologies that represent a broad range of clinically-oriented systems currently available in the marketplace.

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[Also: See photos from Day 1 of HIMSS16]

The technologies examined in the survey include: apps for patient education and/or engagement; mobile-optimized patient portals; patient-generated health data, collected from consumer devices used for remote monitoring; remote patient monitoring using clinical-grade medical devices; text messaging, and telehealth.

Use of connected health solutions appears to be a widely accepted standard practice among hospitals in the United States, the survey found. Not only did 81 percent say their organization uses at least one of the mobile health technologies included in this research, but 67 percent reported deploying multiple systems across their organization.

In addition, the adoption of mobile-optimized patient portals is most widespread among survey respondents, with 58 percent indicating this type of technology is in use in their hospital or health system. Further, 69 percent of respondents using a mobile-optimized patient portal indicated the technology extensively supports the hospital's secure data exchange strategy. Remote monitoring tools were found to play a key role in the areas of provider satisfaction, facilitating treatment/care plans and population health management initiatives, the survey said.

[Also: See photos from Day 1 of HIMSS16]

Mobile and wireless devices, often referred to as "connected health tools," hold the promise of positively impacting the future delivery of patient care – these tools are projected to become increasingly important as healthcare organizations explore ways to provide quality care at a lower cost, while at the same time increasing satisfaction for both providers and patients, HIMSS said. These projections are especially true in the United States, where the healthcare system continues to realign itself toward optimized experiential and clinical outcomes delivered in a cost-conscious manner, HIMSS added.

The potential impact of connected health tools for providers largely is in the area of "care coordination," where the goal of coordinated care is to ensure patients get the right care at the right time while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors, HIMSS said. As caregivers increasingly attempt to extend their care coordination efforts beyond traditional care settings such as hospitals and physician practices, the use of connected health tools will take on greater significance, HIMSS added.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT