Health Data in Your Hands with M2M
The virtual shopping experience is beginning to take off, especially as more brick-and-mortar retailers develop apps that use M2M to bring data to connected devices. Now, the trend is extending to healthcare, as one pharmacy is looking to create a digital drugstore.
Last week, CVS/pharmacy, www.cvscaremark.com, launched an app for the iPad that will allow consumers to manage healthcare and drugstore needs for their families from a connected device. With the app, customers can scroll through prescriptions, schedule refills, and view available pickups. With the app, users can also manage coupons, look for deals, upload photos to the photo center, and locate data about the nearest MinuteClinic.
In recent years, the infusion of technology and apps for medical purposes has grown significantly. Since the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act was enacted in 2009, organizations such as the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, www.hhs.gov, have been making great strides in stimulating nationwide adoption and use of health IT—in particular EHRs (electronic Health Records).
The department says since 2009 physician EHR adoption has nearly doubled, growing to 40% in 2012, and hospital EHR adoption has more than tripled, increasing to 44%. Beyond EHR adoption, consumers are also increasingly taking data into their own hands, tracking health conditions through smartphone apps, remote monitors, and M2M.
The Dept. of Health and Human Services is working in particular to help secure the privacy of mobile applications, working with Congress to ensure health data is secure.
With much healthcare news coming out of the congressional hearings on the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Admin.), www.fda.gov, regulation of medical apps earlier this month, the M2M and connected device market for healthcare is bound for a shakeup in the next year.
And so that raises the question: Can mobile apps pose risks to patients if they don’t operate correctly? The FDA says, in some cases, the answer is yes, but it has plans to continue to put guidance in place to spur innovation in mobile medical apps, while assuring appropriate patient protections. The FDA released a draft guidance last July, but mobile app developers can expect more coming out of the FDA in the year ahead.
At the end of last year, the administration told Connected World it anticipates continued development and innovation in this area, as well as continued interest by consumers who are looking to adopt tools, such as smartphones, almost as quickly as they can be developed.
The world of M2M, connected devices, and mobile medical apps will continue to evolve, driven in large part by new developments from companies such as CVS and continued guidance coming out of federal organizations such as the FDA.
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