Can Healthcare Careers Go Mobile—Literally?
With EHR systems quickly becoming more available to thousands of people through mobile devices, can the work of the people who help maintain them go mobile as well? Can these people work from home and accomplish a considerable volume of work on mobile devices? It’s possible, although the future is a bit hazy for now. Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest medical organizations in the US according to Forbes.com, made headlines early last year when it released an Android app for its electronic healthcare system. The said monumental leap in technology enabled 9 million of Kaiser’s subscribers to gain access to the system through mobile devices. The company’s CEO, George Halvorson, thought it’s bound to happen, considering that mobile access to health information is “becoming the new norm.” The list of electronic medical records apps available on the iOS platform, as posted on the Software Advice website, also predicts a promising future for the industry and goes to show that the industry is indeed catching up. Medical Economics ponders this mercurial rise of healthcare information access on mobile devices. Citing data from research firms like Blackbook Research, the website provided proof of the growing enthusiasm among physicians and healthcare professionals for mobile healthcare informatics. According to an article titled Practicing on the Go: Mobile EHRs on the Rise, which was penned by Debra Beaulieu, 83 percent of physicians said they are interested in adopting a mobile version of their EHR system for work which would allow them to easily encode patient info and prescriptions on it. The software is still riddled with limitations, unfortunately, Beaulieu notes in her article. Most EHRs are available in read-only format on mobile devices and cannot be edited. There are also times too that some EHRs are not optimized for viewing on some mobile devices. Cyber incidences also complicate matters further. The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), too, is another factor at play. With patient records now virtually accessible everywhere and in any form of handheld device, the security of transmitting patient info may be at risk. And with thousands of dollars at risk, one security breach incidence is just unacceptable. So to answer your question: Yes, it’s possible for healthcare careers to go mobile, although it may take a while, as far as things are going. Until all electronic health records have been migrated online and have functionality for mobile input, we just have to wait and see whether a demand for EHR professionals maintaining these systems will be created. We are hopeful, however, that with further training and education, understanding how to use existing mobile versions of EHR systems can help aspiring EHR professionals and students meet this upcoming demand. And perhaps, the more students are trained and know how to effectively work around the limitations of mobile EHR systems can influence an increase in demand for mobile EHR professionals in the industry.