Research reported by Wolters Kluwer predicts that the number of consumers using home health technologies, including wearables, will increase from 14.3 million worldwide in 2014 to 78.5 million by 2020. The healthcare segment accounts for a major part of the wearable-technology market, including mobile phones with wearable sensors, implanted medical devices, and home-based telehealth devices that can facilitate, monitor, and manage the health of a patient.

Pharmacists in medication therapy management (MTM) settings now interact more than ever with the referring healthcare professional to determine the needs and expectations of patients, as well as to review a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR) for medical history, diagnosis, number of providers, demographic data, laboratory test data, and medication lists generated by the various providers. The pharmacist’s task of identifying any drug-related problems that may be associated with the patient is becoming less arduous, thanks to the mobile-app revolution.

Nuances in data delivery can be seen in such application technologies as AirStrip, which offers a mobile, interoperable platform that allows care coordination between multiple devices and care settings. MTM clinics can use the data acquired from the EMRs, health-information exchanges, medical devices, and other monitoring solutions, especially from such devices as smartphones, tablets, and computers, to reconcile medication issues. This tool helps pharmacies access data from telemedicine programs and integrates with other vendor systems, allowing real-time decision-making in MTM clinics.

One of the staples of the MTM program is communication. It is increasingly clear that remote communications are providing as much value as face-to-face interaction. For example, telephone consultations and communications in which pharmacists engage and interact with patients can be supported with a technology such as Spok. The Spok mobile app provides a unified place to coordinate clinical care and improve clinical communication. Spok can update providers with “delivered/read” messaging from several different devices. The Spok app includes integration with EMRs, provider preferences for certain procedures or care responsibilities, and hospital-wide scheduling. Apps such as this can be easily accessed via a smartphone or smart watch.

Finally, patients are becoming more engaged with their health than ever before, and the skills of a pharmacist, coupled with the today’s technologies, can improve healthcare delivery. As patient-facing apps such as Aetna Health, a mobile app that allows patients to find information on their health conditions and provides step-by-step treatment guidance, become increasingly relevant in healthcare, engagement of healthcare stakeholders will continue.

« Click here to return to Technology Update.