Mobile technology has become part of our everyday lives and it is not an overstatement to suggest it has revolutionised the way we communicate and live our lives. Despite the itinerant nature of general practice, which goes far beyond the clinic walls and into patient homes, community care facilities and hospitals, adoption of mobile technology within the profession is a recent phenomenon.
Advances in mobile devices and applications (‘apps’), better connections (mobile networks, Wi-Fi), and the ability to integrate new technology with existing services/ structures have all led to greater acceptance and uptake of mobile tools by industries and consumers alike.
There is growing interest in the role mobile health (mHealth) can play in general practice
There are potential benefits in terms of both care delivery and business efficiency through the use of mobile tools such as smartphones, tablets and other medical devices (eg wireless monitors). The mobile nature of general practice indicate these tools offer new opportunities and methods of reshaping current practice.
mHealth in general practice: A toolkit for effective and secure use of mobile technology (the ‘toolkit’) provides information and instructions for anyone considering incorporating mobile technology into general practice. It is designed to help you do so easily, effectively and securely – with minimal ‘tech’ expertise. The case studies illustrate how mHealth can provide effective solutions to address current demands in general practice.
The toolkit provides general practices already utilising mHealth with an opportunity to review and enhance their existing activities to ensure they are safe, secure and compliant with privacy and security legislation.
This toolkit is divided into four phases, with a total of 10 steps to consider when adopting an mHealth strategy:
Phase 1 – Planning an mHealth strategy
Helps identify if your practice will benefit from, and prepare your practice for, implementing a mobile technology strategy.
Phase 2 – Initial trial
Guides you through establishing a mobile technology strategy for your practice, as well as the steps required to implement the strategy successfully.
Phase 3 – Delivery
The ‘action’ part of the toolkit, this provides you with easy-to-follow steps and practical tools to assist in implementing a mobile strategy.
Phase 4 – Reflection
Provides a checklist for your practice to review and assess the implementation plan and commitment to deploying a mobile strategy. The checklist is designed to start an internal discussion about how far your practice has gone in building a culture of mobile health. This section also provides a list of relevant links and recommended resources for future action.