Wearable devices with remote monitoring. Surgeries performed in a fully-virtual environment.  Mobile electronic health records that physicians can access anywhere. 

Digital health is a reality that most of us would’ve never imagined ten years ago. Mobile technology in healthcare has arrived, and it’s transforming communication, care, and patient involvement industry-wide. But it’s not just about the doctor-patient relationship. Mobile technology is also opening new doors for healthcare sales representatives—it’s more common than ever to find complicated medical device technology reflected with laser-sharp accuracy from a smartphone app on the trade show floor.

With mobile technology in the mainstream, the way we receive and communicate healthcare information will never be the same. With that in mind, it’s important for those in the industry to get in the know and ensure they’re taking full advantage of what this technology has to offer. 

In particular, healthcare sales reps, physicians, and patients are positioned to use this dynamic technology to create integrated, more personalized experiences. Let’s take a quick look at the trends and opportunities in mobile tech for key players in the healthcare industry.

Medical device and pharmaceutical sales reps

We’re not breaking any news when we say that if medical device companies want to stay relevant, they’re going to need to invest in mobile technology. The healthcare industry is more data-driven than ever before, and your technology has to keep up. That means embracing digital health and bringing innovations like 3D animation and extended reality into your sales process. Here’s what you need to know. 

Using extended reality for sales

We’re going to start with extended reality, because let’s face it: it’s a super-cool new technology. But more than that, it allows sales reps to turn sales into an interactive, immersive experience. First, a quick crash course on the vocabulary around extended reality:

  • Extended reality (XR): XR is a newer umbrella term that covers the three main types of environments created or altered by computer technology: virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. 
  • Virtual reality (VR): VR brings users into a completely virtual space
  • Augmented reality (AR): AR projects bring virtual information into real space
  • Mixed reality (MR): MR combines virtual and augmented reality into a reality hybrid

So, what opportunities do sales reps have to bring extended reality into the sales process? Now that extended reality is readily available on smartphones, there are endless opportunities to integrate it into your sales strategy. You’ve likely already seen examples of this on the showroom floor. Medical device demonstrations are embracing XR experiences, and when they do, it often steals the show. 

person in v r headset image

After all, would you rather listen to a rep talk about a product or take it for a spin yourself? Whether it’s putting on a VR headset for a fully-immersive experience or using an AR smartphone app to interact with how a product works, XR showcases the look and function of a product. Immersive experiences leave people with a lasting impression that will make them want to follow up with a sales rep after the show on their own.

Mobile technology as a sales resource

Mobile technology is doing more for sales reps than simply delivering flashy demos at annual meetings. Sales reps are using apps on their tablets and smartphones to increase productivity by organizing, presenting, and distributing product information by audience or topic on the spot. 

Mobile tech has become a powerful sales resource that allows reps to order products in the field and integrate with backend systems to get all of the necessary information to and from the physician at the point of need. When you only have 2-4 minutes to make an impactful presentation, mobile technology helps you be more efficient and effective so you can achieve your sales goals in this constantly evolving industry. 

Physicians

The day-to-day activities of a physician have been utterly transformed by mobile technology. Mobile tech allows physicians to deliver care that is more efficient, integrated, and informed than ever before. That means patients have more options for receiving care and better outcomes overall. In fact, mobile has solved many of the challenges that physicians have faced for decades. Here are two ways that mobile tech is making waves for healthcare providers.

Coordination of care

Coordination of care is a complex task, but mobile is making it much easier. If you’re not familiar, care coordination is the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services. That means streamlined, cohesive communication between providers is crucial for success. In fact, a survey by NEJM Catalyst found that improving real-time communication among care settings is the best way to improve care outcomes. 

Healthcare facilities and clinics are investing in mobile technology as a way to get physicians connected to one another for coordinated care. Mobile platforms designed for providers allow physicians to contact one another, share test results, and communicate across care settings. This advancement helps providers clearly define roles and responsibilities, avoid errors, and respond to patients much quicker. Once a patient is sent home, wearable tech devices are put to use to help physicians continually monitor their health—all of which helps to reduce readmission rates and keep healthcare costs down.

Mobile data

Data, and the seemingly infinite amount of it, has fundamentally changed the healthcare sector. Healthcare facilities and providers are using data to inform their work and deliver better outcomes for patients. More than ever, data is driving the future of the industry and physicians value mobile solutions that help automate patient data collection and analytics.

With the proper security measures in place, patient data and resources can be stored on a mobile device for physicians to access at their moment of need. Let’s use chronic disease management as an example. Traditionally, managing a chronic disease meant frequent, required check-up appointments to record and track health analytics. Mobile technology, like smartphones and wearable devices, now allows patients to record their own data so that doctors can track their updates with remote monitoring. 

When patients do have an office or hospital visit, electronic health records are often available on mobile computing carts that physicians can access from the patient’s bedside, with all relevant data up-to-date and in one place. Wearable devices are even used in pre- and post-surgery patient care, take the Mymobility app from Zimmer Biomet we helped design. The app is accessible on an Apple Watch, and helps patients have more accountability, education, and motivation in their surgical journey.

Performance support

The idea of smartphones or tablets in the operating room might seem counterintuitive, and even a little scary. But mobile apps are actually playing an important role in increasing patient safety and surgical team efficiency. Consider augmented reality: traditionally, surgeons navigated a procedure by looking back and forth between the patient and a screen displaying what they’re working on. With surgical AR, surgeons can use AR lenses to look directly at the patient and get a real-time, 3-D visualization of their line-of-sight. Basically, AR gives surgeons what they’ve always wanted: x-ray vision.

But it’s not all about extended reality. Even relatively straightforward mobile apps are finding their way into the operating room. Mobile apps are helping surgical teams manage and streamline the complexities of their procedures by creating one platform to guide the entire team. Apps like Persona that we partnered with Zimmer Biomet to help build, provide step-by-step instructions on tasks, personalization, and instrumentation so that every team member is in sync in the operating room. Across the board, mobile tech solutions are providing innovative, targeted performance support for surgeons—and bringing them that much closer to being actual superheroes.

Consumers and patients

Devices, apps, and other online software now play a significant role in caring for and treating patients, making patients’ lives much less complicated. As technology becomes embedded into every aspect of our lives, it’s no surprise that we want healthcare integrated with everything else. 95 percent of Americans now own a mobile phone, 77 percent of which are smartphones. Mobile technology presents the opportunity for consumers to take a more active role in managing their own health, by way of wearables and health and fitness apps (of which there are more than 320,000!). Here’s what mobile tech means for patients and consumers.

Patient engagement

For the healthcare industry, the opportunity to bring mobile tech into the patient care experience is too great to pass up. Mobile devices now play a vital role in supporting medical and public health initiatives, as well as preventative health services. Consumers are more comfortable than ever with mobile technology, and it’s motivating them to become more engaged with managing their health.

In fact, consumer demand is actually driving the medical device industry to make its technology more user-friendly. Devices that were previously too complex for the patient are being reimagined with the end-user in mind. More often than not, that means leveraging mobile technology to educate and empower patients to understand and participate in their care. Popular consumer devices like Apple Watch makes it easy for patients to monitor their health and capture real-world data with little effort. For example, those managing a heart condition can use an ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 to receive notifications about irregular heart rhythms, capture an ECG, and record any symptoms. The data can be exported from the app and sent as a PDF to healthcare providers. More active participation from patients = less in-person doctor visits in the long run.

Across roles, mobile technology has drastically transformed the healthcare sector in record time. Usually, change is scary. But for sales reps, physicians, and patients, this is an exciting time of innovation and efficiency. Medical device and pharmaceutical sales reps are empowered to create immersive, memorable sales experiences. Physicians are delivering data-driven care and spending more time with patients where it matters most. And consumers are engaged in managing their own health and demanding that the healthcare industry get on board. 

The smaller our devices get, the more powerful they become—and the future of mobile in healthcare is looking as bright as our phone screens.

Are you a medical device client looking to bring mobile into your trade show experience?

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