Healthcare News & Insights

How mHealth can help improve chronic care

Mobile apps, wearables and other mobile health (mHealth) devices are the newest IT trend to hit the industry. And two studies show hospitals why it may be time to add more mHealth into their operations. 

512985069In the last few years, hospital executives have seen a huge increase in the number of mHealth IT hitting the market.

Some hospitals have held off adopting mHealth, believing there may not be much benefit to the trend. Others have been concerned their patients won’t have much interest in using these tools.

However, new research shows a growing interest from patients when it comes to adopting mHealth, and that mobile technology does improve care, particularly in chronic care management (CCM).

Growing mHealth interest

Makovsky Health and Kelton, a healthcare research group, recently released the results of a survey of more than 1,000 patients investigating their interest in mHealth.

The study found about 66% of respondents were open to using tools like mobile apps to help manage their own care. Additionally, 80% expressed an interesting in adopting wearable devices the same way.

Researchers also asked the participants how they would use mobile apps for their personal health care. The most common responses included:

  • tracking diet and nutrition information – 47%
  • receiving medical reminders – 46%
  • tracking symptoms – 45%, and
  • tracking physical activity – 44%.

Participants had similar responses in regards to wearable devices.

As one might expect, younger respondents (between 18 and 34 years) were twice as likely to be interested in using mHealth as patients 65 and older.

But interestingly, researchers noted that the type of chronic disease the volunteer had also affected what types of mHealth they were most interested in.

For example: Respondents with gastrointestinal conditions were interested in using mHealth to track nutrition. Pulmonary patients wanted to receive medical reminders, and patients with cardiovascular conditions wanted to track their sleep.

A large majority (88%) also said they wouldn’t mind sharing personal health data for the sake of improving care and treatments.

mHealth and CCM

A study recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Researach also shows patients’ interest in mHealth for CCM has paid off.

The research compiles data from over 100 separate studies on mHealth’s effect on CCM for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease.

Researchers used four main categories to organize mHealth tools: SMS/texting, mobile phone software/applications, phone plus connected  instrument and phone plus wireless/bluetooth-compatible device.

Generally, texting tools were the most commonly utilized, followed by mobile apps. Researchers found strong correlations to suggest that the mobile tech did have a noticeably positive effect in helping patients stick to their CCM regiments.

The growing amount of research into mHealth’s impact on quality of care suggest there are strong reasons for hospital leaders to consider investing in mHealth technology.

It’s important to take time to consider which mHealth will have the greatest affect on your operations. You can do this by reviewing your patient data to see which chronic conditions are most prevalent or survey patients to gauge their interest.

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