mHealth Gets High Marks From Patients—But is Supply Meeting Demand?

In an increasingly app-obsessed world, it’s only logical that patients, particularly those with chronic health conditions, would want to use their mobile devices to connect with their health care providers—and to take control of their health. As a recent West survey (via mHealth Intelligence) finds, an overwhelming majority of patients want “patient-specific support outside of the clinical setting,” tailored to their individual care needs. Further, patients tend to feel that their ability to most effectively manage their chronic health conditions would be enhanced by receiving this information from providers.

Notably, the West study also found that there is a significant unmet need for mHealth services among those surveyed: “While 70 percent of patients say they’d like their doctor to check in with them regularly, only 30 percent are seeing that benefit,” mHealth Intelligence summarizes. Further, “only five percent of providers are using mHealth surveys to keep tabs on their patients at home.” At the same time, patients reported a lack of confidence in their ability to independently manage their conditions; 59 percent of respondents to West’s survey, for example, stated that they “do not feel they are doing everything they can to manage their condition,” and 35 percent lack an understanding of “their target numbers for key health indicators” such as blood pressure. Compounding this: the stress and confusion that tend to come with a new diagnosis.

The cost of managing chronic conditions has, of course, been well documented, and the use of mobile health care technologies is one way to empower patients to work toward better health care outcomes (and, for providers, to avoid the costly penalties that come with hospital readmissions). West’s researchers suggest “tailoring communications for individual patients, using surveys that allow patients to report information about their health, and monitoring patients with biometric devices” as three strategies that providers could adopt for connecting with their patients with chronic conditions outside of office visits. Such an approach will be particularly important as younger generations begin to make up a greater percentage of the patient population: “Millennials desire a proactive approach to chronic care, and future generations will likely expect the same,” West’s research team explains. “Therefore, health care providers need to begin adopting a more proactive approach when treating patients of all ages with chronic conditions.”

Click here for the article from mHealthIntelligence.

Click here for the study from West (download required).



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