While the jury is still out on whether mobile devices will eventually replace laptops and PCs, many observers are predicting that their use will continue to explode in the next few years. There are currently at least 10,000 health-related apps that could be downloaded to a mobile electronic device like the iPad, iPhone, and Android—smart phones and tablet computers that are increasingly being used by consumers and healthcare providers to manage various aspects of health maintenance and healthcare.
Combined with government initiatives like the meaningful use EHR incentive program, designed to increase consumer engagement in personal healthcare, mobile health can only be expected to accelerate in the coming years. Mobile health technology can be used by consumers to download health information from provider portals, or by healthcare providers to collect, record, and report health information either manually or via interfaces with biomedical devices.
Because of this growing trend, HIM professionals should review the latest mobile health regulations and best practices, and develop internal policies aimed at protecting the integrity and privacy of patient records.
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