Judging from the audience's positive reaction, Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse hit the nail on the head Monday when he presented on wireless technology in the health care industry. He couldn't have chosen a riper industry. Even beyond all the political noise, this is an industry in transformation. Pressure? You got it--cost cutting and a huge push to increase the quality of care for starters.
Hesse says one key to all of this is wireless. He delivered his keynote address to the HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society) annual conference in Atlanta.
The ways that healthcare providers are using wireless to increase efficiency and better manage costs, Hesse told his audience, are achieving “some truly remarkable, transformative advancements in delivering faster, better patient care.”
He pointed to a slew of specific examples and noted caregivers are using smartphones equipped with medical applications, secure access to lab results, x-rays, vital signs, drug-to-drug interactions, and other important medical records. He said the trends point to a rising use of wireless data transactions and a growing dependence on the capacity that 4G technology delivers.
It's fascinating to consider how wireless, particularly 4G, could transform the healthcare business. Information exchanges are becoming increasingly data-heavy – through applications such as streaming video, virtual office visits, radiologic image transmission, virtual collaboration, and other varied on-demand applications. That's where 4G comes in; it has the bandwidth to handle the load and make these exchanges happen from almost anywhere.
Hesse described the changes that wireless is bringing and will continue to bring to healthcare as an “historic opportunity,” and it’s true. With the ability to access information easily and quickly, and have it available anywhere, the delivery of healthcare services makes more efficient use of providers’ time and resources, achieving the twin goals of lower costs and the highest-quality care.
The potential is huge. As one example Network World points out, " A study released last summer by ABI Research projected that there will be approximately 15 million wireless telehealth sensors and devices in use by 2012, or more than double the number of wireless telehealth systems in use today. ABI says that these systems will be used primarily to "monitor and track the status of patients with chronic conditions" so that their providers can detect early warning signs before they become dangerous.
For a full written transcript of Dan Hesse's keynote, visit HIMSS keynote.
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