Mobile Medical Apps Discussed

Alan Portela, CEO of AirStrip on June 27, 2013 appeared before the House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Health and Technology to discuss how mobile medical apps are rapidly helping to advance care for patients within the nation’s healthcare system.

As he explained, “The move from a fee-for-service to bundled incentives and payment model is forcing healthcare organizations to look beyond the four walls of the hospital and into the Patient-Centered Home Care model. These changes coupled with the current caregiver shortages and the move away from generalist doctors to specialists will mean a greater reliance on mobile health and shared-medical technologies”.

Mobile technology is going to play a crucial role in developing new federal and private reimbursement revenue models that will improve the quality of care, reduce costs, prevent job losses, and create new more specialized healthcare jobs.

Changes in medicine are no longer making it possible for physicians to practice medicine in only one location. Physicians are fast becoming mobile professionals with mobile technology developing as the ultimate tool to improve workflow under the new models.

Portela was pleased to see the FDA respond to attempts to clarify the gray area in guidance for medical apps issued in 2011 and he feels that moving forward, the FDA should immediately release the final mobile medical applications guidance document. Also given the number of applications claiming to exchange or display patient data, the FDA should include many more mobile medical device apps under its jurisdiction.

Another important issue related to mobility is interoperability since interoperability of health information has been plaguing hospitals and health systems for some time. The answer to this challenge is using more mobile technology.

With today’s changing models of care, mobility enables coordination across multiple facilities and geographic areas. According to Portela, “Clinicians no longer work in a stationary environment, but move across facilities and departments. Today, physicians need data available whether they are at the bedside, down the hall, or at a different hospital.”

While Portela sees the benefit of mobility across all departments; cardiology is where he sees the potential for mobility to make the most immediate impact. The time has come to equip cardiologists with diagnostic quality ECGs so that doctors in seeing patients right from the ambulance will be able to make decisions immediately.

As he sees it, mobility also plays a key role in the critical post-discharge period for heart failure patients. Patients could be sent home with sensors that are constantly uploading ECGs and other data. This information could be accessed by a group of elector-physiologists and cardiologists, who in turn, would be able to identify and ideally prevent potential causes for readmission.

To view the complete testimony, go to

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