Nearly 90 percent of providers are using mobile devices for patient engagement, according to results of a new HIMSS survey. And, while respondents were most likely to engage patients with app-enabled portals (73 percent), only 36 percent indicated that use of these portals is a highly effective means of engaging patients.

With nearly two-thirds of Americans owning a smartphone, app-enabled portals are often seen by providers as a natural medium for creating an engaging patient-centric tool. However, the 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Study of 238 providers released at HIMSS15 is the latest evidence that healthcare organizations “continue to struggle to effectively engage patients using existing mobile devices,” states the report.

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As providers have learned, merely making a portal available to patients does not ensure that they will use it. “The portal must be engaging and user-friendly, and must support patient-centered outcomes,” according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “The portal also must be integrated into clinical encounters so the care team uses it to convey information, communicate with patients, and support self-care and decision-making.”

More than half of respondents to the HIMSS survey indicated that the Meaningful Use program has a strong impact on their organization’s mobile health strategy. Meaningful Use requirements established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require that patients have the capability to view, download, and transmit their data from their electronic health record. EHR vendors have provided that kind of functionality with app-enabled patient portals.

And, while two-thirds (67 percent) of providers surveyed said that at least some portion of the information on a mobile device is uploaded into the organization’s EHR, only 8 percent of respondents reported that their organization captures all data generated by mobile devices into their EHR. In addition, only one-third of providers indicated that their organization has created interfaces between the EHR and other devices such that alerts are posted directly into the EHR.

Results of the 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Study are available here.

This article courtesy of Information Management's sister media brand, HealthData Management.

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