mHealth adoption – what’s in it for the Patient ?

  Jun 24, 2013 6:10:53 AM

Over the past couple of weeks we have been looking into what are the big drivers for stakeholders in the Healthcare ecosystem to adopt mHealth. What’s in it for the patient ? 3 words – more patient engagement.  What does an “engaged” patient translate into ? Simply put, the engaged patient is more aware of his condition, and knows what lifestyle changes to make – which in turn ultimately leads to better chances of staying healthy.

How can mHealth help here ? As an example, let’s assume a patient who has been diagnosed with diabetes recently is advised by the clinic to use a mobile “Wellness” app along with his medications. The said app also has the capability to collect readings of his vitals (BP, Heart rate, Temperature) and specific readings like blood glucose levels. The app is able to do this as its been integrated with say a wrist monitor for BP, a heart rate monitor and so on. Similarly for the sugar levels, the app may be integrated with a glucometer. In addition, the app is also integrated with the patient’s EHR (Electronic Health Record) to capture medications (Dosage, frequency).

On a daily basis, the app has the power of analytics to possibly inform the patient about his condition – which maybe some visual indicators showing the normal range of blood glucose level, and where his current readings are. The patient is also given reminders of his medication and dosage and is encouraged to record the time of day and dosage consumed. Based on the fact that he is taking his medication on time and his vitals, the app constantly informs the patient on whether the patient is really controlling his blood glucose levels. Moreover the app could be part of the physician care network, where in the one hand, his doctor receives a report just before his annual check-up, or on the other hand if his vitals are not going right the doctor’s office schedules his next check-up. Net result is he automatically drives himself towards a healthier lifestyle.

A similar example could be a mother using a mobile enabled Patient Portal that shows her the medications that her child needs to be on, after a recent doctor visit due to an infection. She can read up more details on care to be taken during the period of the illness, find out how to prevent this from spreading to her older child, view and record the vitals for the child, send a refill request for the antibiotic to the pharmacy, and based on whether the child is improving, she could even schedule an appointment for a re-visit.

In summary, an engaged patient results in the 3 Is - Improved patient satisfaction, Improved quality and safety and finally improved operations and efficiency.

Authored by Arun Venkataram

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