How mHealth Encourages Better Quality of Care

During the keynote presentation at mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised mobile health technology as a way to encourage better quality of care.

During her speech, the future of health care the Sebelius envisioned was one where patients had more control over their health and communicate more easily and freely with their physicians.

According to Sebelius, the administration is working toward “a future where taking care of your health is something you do with the help of your doctor every day, not just once a year at an appointment.”

The way mobile health technology helps make this a reality, she said, is because almost all Americans always have a cell phone with them. Health information is always in reach, just in a person’s pocket.

The change in the health care system isn’t so far in the future either. While Sebelius admitted that the industry typically has a slower rate of innovation, she mentioned that doctors are quickly adopting electronic health records. Since Barack Obama took office, the share of doctors using EHRs has increased from 17% to 34%. A further 52% intend to adopt EHRs soon. And mobile health is an extension of EHRs.

Not only can patients be more active in taking control of their health and working with their doctors, but physicians are benefitting from the technology.

“Today, technologies built for consumers like iPads are finding their way into lab coat pockets, and a smart phone loaded with Epocrates is almost as much of a requirement for new doctors as a stethoscope,” Sebelius said.

Read Sebelius’ full keynote speech.