As legal advocates for seniors and retirees, we know how cautious some of our clients are when it comes to technology. The rapidly growing mobile health market makes it difficult to ignore or delay since it’s quickly transforming health care delivery as a whole. A new study reveals that more than 80 percent of American doctors regularly incorporate mobile technology to provide patient care. Further, more than 25 percent of commercially insured patients use mobile applications to manage their health and logistics.
As you might expect, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has evolved too with a strong emphasis on both cost-effective quality care and the importance of patience privacy. Still, we’re on the verge of something that will forever change the way we see healthcare.
By the end of the year, experts say 2 billion smartphones, tablets and other portable devices, any of which may provide individuals access to health care information from anywhere at any time, will be the locomotive of medical technology.
To say there are countless opportunities for those in this field is an understatement. Unfortunately, that applies to hackers and thieves too. The risks are many – but are they worth it? Not only that, is it really worth it, especially for seniors, to even attempt to keep up with the changes?
It is true that better ways of protecting clients should be developed, implemented and improved on a consistent basis. The challenge for many consumers is the impossibility of keeping up with it all. Some have gone as far as to say doctors will soon be delivering video teleconferencing as their preferred method of delivery for many patients.
We’ve closely monitored these goings-on and we’ve also seen the attention to detail displayed by those charged with keeping our information and our lives safe and free from hackers. It’s not an easy job, but our own efforts of fact finding continue to reiterate the commitment to quality and safety of those pushing the technology.
Wondering what information is making it online? Aside from the video calls between doctors and patients, there are also legal documents many clients keep stored in their clouds. Insurance companies and medical facilities have long since used the power of the internet in their exchange of information. It certainly eases the complications of data collecting. That could ultimately mean in better healthcare delivery.
That’s not to say there aren’t big problems. Reimbursement continues to be an important and challenging barrier to healthcare as a whole. Medicare limits its payments for telemedicine and instead insists on in person contact. This is challenging for those in rural areas or whose travel resources are less than predictable.
For its part, HHS has announced the Office of Inspector General “intends to review the security of portable devices used in hospitals that access protected health information as part of its HIPAA compliance audits”. The emphasis is one that remains consistent: transparency and clear notice to consumers about how their health data is being collected, stored, and shared when provided through mobile applications.
Clearly, there’s much to be done, but remember, they said the same thing about the personal computer. Want to learn more about estate planning and future in digital? Contact our office today to learn more.
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