Mobile Applications in Healthcare – Here to Stay
We at mehealth know that the future of care delivery relies on digital health. More and more healthcare providers are taking notice.
Case in point: Earlier this month The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Landro wrote a great piece on the use of mobile applications to help manage costly and complex medical conditions.
Landro reports that “Hospitals are developing new mobile apps to help patients manage serious medical conditions and feed information back to their doctors between visits, often in real time.”
In the article, she describes examples of the multi-faceted use of mobile health tools to:
- Help patients adhere to HIV medications
- Manage the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and asthma
- Prevent repeat heart problems after a cardiovascular rehabilitation program
Interestingly, Landro writes: “Because they are prescribed by physicians and used under medical supervision, researchers say, they stand a better chance of being integrated into patients’ daily routines, compared with health apps that consumers download and use without their doctors’ involvement.”
This statement is directly correlated to what we at mehealth have long known; when treating patients with complex conditions ( such as behavioral health disorders), so much of what informs doctors’ decision-making is dependent on what takes place while the patient is out of the office between ‘physical appointments’. Further, the ability of these tools to collect information in all settings makes them more likely to be adopted by the patient, as they are often not only willing, but thrilled to take a part in their own care delivery.
As Landro mentions, the true benefit of digital health apps is that clinicians can use these tools to answer questions and gather details that are often impossible to observe from brief 20-minute patient encounters. Since there are often weeks or months between appointments, being able to accurately collect this information provides a fuller, more comprehensive patient picture, answering important clinical queries such as “What were the immediate effects of the medication?” or “Could you rate how your symptoms have progressed over the past two weeks?”.
For an improved, inclusive care continuum to be a reality, the healthcare industry must realize the value of digital health technologies, such as apps, and further continue to dedicate time and resources to develop and use these tools. Kudos to Ms. Landro for her piece and all those who continue to join mehealth in advocating for our patients and the benefits that digital health provides.