App usage is exploding at healthcare facilities

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Physicians are embracing the power of smartphones and tablets to help them care for patients, but app usage is the real game changer in the healthcare world, as the number of medical apps being downloaded continues to climb. Hospital inventory management can now be handled by scanning a barcode with an app, while patient information can be shared via the cloud with just a few clicks. In fact, a new report from Good Technology revealed the total number of secure mobile app activations among more than 5,000 of its customers rose by more than 40 percent from Q2 to Q3 of 2013.

"It's clear that the emphasis is shifting to the next step in mobility: the power of mobile applications and the transformational capabilities that are now possible with secure, app-to-app workflows that are redefining how we work, engage with customers and build new business opportunities," the report said.

Apps can improve patient care
The Affordable Care Act is forcing the hands of medical professionals by asking them to provide care to more patients. In response to the high demand, doctors are leveraging mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets to meet the needs of hospital visitors.

Anesthesiologist Brian Rothman told South Bend, Ind., NBC affiliate WNDU that he created an app that allows him to keep track of patients' medications and vital signs and get notifications if those vitals go out of range. Now he has the ability to observe up to four operating rooms at once.

"We have such a demand to be everywhere for our patients," Rothman said. "It brings information to me."

Tablets are helping the growth of the mobile app market
According to the Good Technology research, 81 percent of applications activated in Q3 were on tablets, demonstrating how these devices are playing a bigger role in the workplace. With tablets, doctors have the ability to access electronic health records, send in prescriptions, share information with other physicians and much more.

In addition to these capabilities, 91 percent of the apps downloaded on such gadgets were document-editing apps, while file access and custom applications rounded out the top three. Leveraging tablets in the healthcare world is going to continue to grow when regulations are in place for how doctors and nurses can use such devices.