Written by Jennifer Pell
Since the production of the first smart phone 20 years ago mobile devices have come a long way in integrating themselves into our day to day lives. It’s now become difficult to find someone with a phone that doesn’t let them use social media, access the internet, and open a document with just the swipe of a finger – but how has this affected health organisations?
Over the last year, we’ve noticed a large shift in how people are using their GP websites and in how health organisations are focusing on their digital presence. We’ve found cases where over 53% of people are accessing & using GP practice websites from their mobiles phones and 61% of these people were using either iPhones. In response a variety of health organisations and clinical system providers such as SystmOnline and EMIS/Patient Access have invested in mobile friendly technology such as apps and device responsive websites as patients now expect it.
In recent years Apple has played a particularly large part in the development of mobile technology and with the launch of the new IOS 8 mobile operating system and the iPhone 6 this Autumn the popularity of smart devices is only set to increase. A particular development that could impact the health sector is Apple’s recent focus on helping the public monitor their health & fitness themselves.
The new IOS 8 software has been installed on the iPhone 6 and previous models dating back to the iphone 4S showcasing Apples brand new “HealthKit” app. The app collects data from an individual’s use of other health monitoring apps and displays the results in a simple and easy to read fashion. As patients become more tech savvy they are also becoming more aware of how to monitor their health, how they can improve it, and when they should and shouldn’t visit a GP.
Around the world there have been a variety of health organisations taking the leap to join the mobile world by using systems like Skype to host online consultations, creating their own apps, having device responsive websites and much more. Showing that, as we move forward into a digital era, the health sector could benefit greatly from embracing new mobile developments which could improve efficiency, patient care and quality of service.