Health care professionals, especially physicians, are increasingly using mobile devices to collect personal information on patients and their caregivers.
Now, the devices are also being used to provide healthcare providers with medical records.
As part of a joint research study by University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and the University of Alberta, the team collected data on more than 100 health care professionals in Canada.
They identified that doctors are among the first to use mobile devices, using them for everything from checking the location of a patient’s blood pressure to providing health information on a patient to tracking a patient.
A third of the health care providers who participated in the study said they have used their mobile devices for some form of healthcare work.
“There are quite a few mobile devices that are used by doctors, but most doctors are not using them, and so they are not being aware of what they are doing,” said Dr. John Koehler, a professor of pediatrics at the University College of London.
Koehlman’s team, led by the University’s Andrew Dutton, analysed data from more than 1,200 health care workers in five Canadian cities.
He says that a large number of health care staff are also using smartphones to monitor their patients’ health and other information.
In Toronto, for example, over 60 per cent of medical staff use mobile phones to monitor patients, while about two-thirds of nurses and primary care physicians use their phones for health information.
But that’s not the only reason.
A large number are also relying on the internet to get health information, and the devices have become increasingly popular for this purpose.
Health Care Access Canada reports that mobile devices account for roughly 15 per cent to 20 per cent a quarter of its total health data collection, and that mobile apps for health care work account for another two per cent.
In a survey of about 500 healthcare professionals by the Canadian Medical Association, Koeelson said that nearly 70 per cent said they use mobile health records to monitor a patient, with many saying they use them to look up a patient or record a medical appointment.
“They [the devices] are becoming increasingly important for the delivery of healthcare to our patients and we’re seeing them being used by many more doctors than ever before,” Koeller said.
Koeshler said that he believes that mobile health record data is an important way to protect healthcare workers and patients from identity fraud, as it allows the healthcare provider to securely record patients’ personal information and can also provide accurate medical records in the event of a medical emergency.
He said that many health care facilities are also turning to mobile devices in order to record patients and other data.
“When you have a medical record, it is a very secure record and the doctors can use it for the purpose of diagnosing and treating patients and there is no need for a hospital or clinic to be involved in that,” he said.