Why Connected Mobile Health Applications Over Stand-alone Applications Part 1
Reason #10 (countdown)
There is no question that patient support is critical in improving the health outcomes and promoting healthy behavior change in patients with chronic diseases. Chronic diseases put extraordinary pressure on the healthcare system with annual cost for diabetes at $174 billion/year and heart disease/stroke at $432 billion/year. Patients with chronic diseases have fewer options, receive lower quality care and face sharp increases in health care cost.
The patient support network can be made up of a family health manager (FHM), which is a family member that takes charge of the family’s health. It could come from the patient’s health care professional (HCP), or a certified diabetes educator (CDE). But how do you connect all of the patient supports into a network that works seamlessly? Smartphones can play a major part of creating an effective patient support network and instilling behavior change. Lets look at how a diabetes application can improve health outcomes though a patient support network.
The FHM, HCP, and CDE are connected into the diabetes application though a customized set of business rules. One set of rules can be as simple a reminder from the application to the patients via SMS notifying the user (lets call him Joe) did not log an entry for their daily dosage of medication. If this this reminder goes unanswered than the application can elevate the situation to an alert to the FHM. The FHM will receive a SMS, Email, or a pre recorded voice mail alerting them that Joe did not record their medication. The FHM can than reach out to Joe and ask him if he forgot to take his medication or if he just forgot to record it into his diabetes application. Business rules can also be in place that trigger notifications to Joe’s health care provider, which informs the provider that the patient has not taken their medication for several days or the patient can receive coaching, educational information, and health videos from his CDE.
Now we have recorded the information about Joe’s health behavior, what can we do with it? At Joe’s next doctors appointment his health provider can access the information though a secure web portal and have data driven conversation with dashboards, charts and key indicators about the Joe’s behavior and health. The data recorded provides greater insights and accuracy about Joe’s health and behavior. The health provider can a create care plan that fits the needs of Joe to encourage better health outcomes.
Next blog entry:
Mobile application connected to a multimodal world
Traditional Mhealth Apps vs. Connected Mhealth Apps
Mobile health has exploded in the past few years with over 5,820 medical, health and fitness apps available for smartphones today according to Mobihealthnews.com. In a recent report Frost & Sullivan market says the mobile health market (mhealth) earned revenues of $230 million in 2010 and is estimated to reach $392 million in 2015. So how does a mhealth application stand out of from the endless amount of application in the app store? How can an mhealth application improve the current data flow of the healthcare system? Is the Current stand-alone application model going be able to integrate into the current health information flow?
For an mhealth application to add true value for patient, providers, and improve outcomes they will need three connections.The front-end connection, the back-end connection, and the service layer connection.
The front-end connection integrates sensors and other data gathering technologies.The front-end should be built with the notation that new sensors will enter the market, old sensors will be upgraded, and other information sources will feed data to the application. When building the front-end it should be built as generic as possible, creating the front-end into a cost effective plug and play model. This will prevent your company from paying for a new version of the application to be completely re-written.
The second connection is the back-end connection, to be effective in the current flow of health care information the applications needs to be integrated, cleansed, and reformatted to the providers current format i.e. in house EMR, ECG monitor station, or nurse call center.
The final Connection is the service layer; the service layer must be a secured HIPAA compliant cloud based connection. The service layer connects patient to provider, web portal to mobile device, patient to the care plan management program, application management dashboard and gives the patient the ability to personalize the application.
In order for an mhealth application to create true value, engage the patient and improve health outcomes. The application will have to connect patients to provider, data sensor to the providers current health information data format, have a cloud based data storage that can be accessed from a multitude of devices, and be a safe and secure HIPAA compliant access.
Look for my next series of blog posting we will dive deeper into “What Makes a Health App Effective” and 10 reasons why connected apps are the future of mhealth