Future application 


Mobile app expansion and technological advances have the potential to alter the traditional face-to-face health care delivery model. Clinicians might see a shift in how they practice in the future due to mobile app development. Remote sensor technology in conjunction with mobile app support has the potential to transmit clinical information without face-to-face contact with patients, enabling clinicians to offer virtual in-home health assessments and encounters.31

The use of in-home monitoring devices and video technology has shown no differences in clinical outcomes when compared with traditional care and a decline in hospital readmissions with a monitoring process.10


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With the large number of smartphone users, the use of mobile computing will continue to grow. Smartphones and mobile apps will become part of everyday hospital communication, from linking with on-call schedules to facilitate appointments, to obtaining referrals for patient education, to following up with patients postdischarge.32 The use of mobile health apps will have the potential to be integrated into every facet of the continuum of care. 


There are global efforts to expand mobile health, and the World Health Organization (WHO) is taking the lead with multiple partners to expand the efficiency and use.33 Areas of focus for future development are the creation of mobile telemedicine, disease surveillance, raising awareness with social media, and decision support systems.

During the most recent Ebola virus outbreak in Africa, smartphones and mobile apps were used for disease and health event investigation, surveillance, health teaching, referral, and outreach.34 The use of mobile apps in cases such as these will only increase in the future. 


Conclusion


Health information technology has the potential to improve patient outcomes in primary care.35 The NIH states that the use of mobile phones, smartphones, and mobile apps offers technologies that can make a significant difference to public health and health care delivery in the future.8 Many patients may already be using mobile apps for their personal health care prior to the office visit. Today’s clinicians need to become more aware of mobile apps and their great potential for patient-centered care, follow-up, and improving health outcomes.

Paula McNiel, DNP, RN, APHN-BC, is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Erin McArthur, MLIS, is an academic librarian at Polk Library at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. 


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All electronic documents accessed June 3, 2015.