12-03-12 | Blog Post

Mobile Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) & HIPAA Hosting

Blog Posts

On December 3rd-5th, Online Tech is exhibiting at the 2012 mHealth Summit at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington DC. We’ll be exhibiting our HIPAA hosting solutions at booth #1031 (come find us and say hello!), and exhibiting near us in booth #1130 will be AnyPresence, a mobile Platform-as-a-Service based out of Virginia. I had the chance to speak with Richard Mendis, the Co-Founder and CMO of Anypresence, and asked him a few questions about his predictions regarding mobile apps for healthcare providers.

AnyPresenceAnyPresence is a cloud-based software that allows its clients to build, deploy, and maintain their own mobile apps. Commonly referred to as a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), or Mobile Development Platform (MDP), the solution is meant to cut the time and costs of launching a company’s mobile apps. There are several options to choose from depending on what your company needs, either the Full-Stack Platform for building out both the front-end and back-end of your mobile applications, or just using the mobile Backend-as-a-Service that takes the trouble out of connecting with back-end databases. Rich explains that one of the biggest concerns for mobile app developers is supporting multiple platforms:

“The more apps you build and features that you add, it makes it difficult to maintain the apps across multiple platforms and form factors. The introduction of Windows mobile 8 and Surface, if they gain traction, will further exacerbate the problem”. Their platform is quickly gaining traction in the healthcare space, because it allows users to build an app once, and that app can then be deployed to mobile platforms like iOS, Android and HTML5…”

With mobile becoming a bigger and bigger priority for companies globally, the healthcare industry has quite a bit of work to do in order to find both cost-effective and compliant ways to leverage mobile applications. When asked what he perceives as the strongest point of resistance in mHealth within the next year, Rich cited resources and regulations:

“The biggest hurdle for healthcare providers is finding the bandwidth and resources to tackle mobile apps while simultaneously supporting EMR rollouts and other high-priority initiatives. More generally, I’d say it’s finding ways to keep innovation pace up while dealing with regulatory and privacy issues.”

Especially with the new OCR protocols that came out a bit earlier this year defining HIPAA compliance audits more prescriptively, regulation and privacy should be under an even brighter spotlight than usual.

But even with strict regulations, there are some really great things that can be done with mobile to keep patients interactive and engaged. Rich gave me a few examples of his favorites.

“We have some really progressive healthcare customers. That said, some of the most interesting use cases are often the simple ones. For example, an app designed for patients and visitors that enables food to be ordered from a hospital cafeteria to the room, or enables relatives to purchase a gift from the store to be delivered directly to the patient. These types of apps can really improve engagement and satisfaction.”

Mendis predicts that we’ll continue to see mHealth app and device engagement grow, both on a personal level as well as through healthcare providers implementing mobile avenues in a serious way. It’s estimated that by 2015 American Internet users will be utilizing mobile devices more often than PCs, as smartphone and tablet devices continue to offer a more convenient way to engage with others online, which should keep him pretty busy in 2013.

So, if you’re in DC for the mHealth Summit, make sure to stop by the AnyPresence booth (#1130) next to us, and get a free demo of their mobile app platform. Also, if you’re looking for more information on mHealth trends and regulatory issues, check out the webinar we did in July with Rich Mendis, when he spoke with us about some challenges in cloud-based healthcare mobility.

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