The increasing popularity of smartphones and demand for broadband data access across all types of carriers has set the stage for major growth in the mobile application’s arena. Many vendors who have already taken steps to sieze this opportunity have apps on the market that are making a notable difference in the lives of both physicians and patients, with the end-user action and results to prove it.
And many patients have begun to see the benefits and payoff themselves, utilizing mHealth apps for better care coordination and increased engagement. Whether it’s through apps that offer health coaching for the management and promotion of a healthier lifestyle, or those that allow for better treatment of chronic illnesses, we’re seeing new, patient-driven options truly start to make an impact.
For diabetes care, for example, the assistance can be found in many forms, such as the bant app that was unveiled at the ATA 2011 conference earlier this year, which focuses on increasing patient engagement in teens via the interaction of social media and an iTunes reward system. And at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, researchers have concluded that the use of mobile technology helped patients manage their type 2 diabetes, with results to back it up. Patients who used the app had their A1c levels drop significantly over the course of a year, results of which have helped increase consumer confidence in the app and help illustrate the efficacy of their usage in various patient populations.
There are several other solutions that have helped patients manage their chronic conditions. Asthma patients now have the ability to use a mobile app called Asthma Tracker, which can provide information on common medications, treatments, asthma triggers to avoid and additional resources and tools. Patients with high blood pressure or hypertension can also get assistance in tracking and measuring their BP over time, which allows for the constant monitoring of their levels and enables them to submit their data to their physicians electronically and in real time.
As we continue to monitor the mHealth arena and the many advancements to come, it is just as important for vendors to continue to strive for innovation and develop mobile devices with the patients in mind. Applications and devices that increase patient interaction and engagement are not only a win for the patients themselves, but are also a win for the market and industry as a whole, as they will continue to help drive the shift toward accountable care and frameworks that support and reward for qulity through care coordination.
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