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mHealth’s Growing Importance on Patient Engagement

By: Nextech | June 8th, 2015

mHealth’s Growing Importance on Patient Engagement Blog Feature

People Together-9.jpgTake one look at the world around you and it’s easy to see—society has gone mobile. In a bi-annual report conducted by Ericsson, they predict more than 70 percent of the world will be utilizing smartphones by 2020.

Thanks to this kind of technology, consumers can conceivably access information from any location.

As people take advantage of this unprecedented access, it’s only natural to see patients utilize mobile tools for their healthcare, a trend that only seems poised to grow over the coming years.

The importance of mobile health (mHealth) stems from the greater concern for patient engagement. Government mandates such as Meaningful Use certainly have contributed to this, thanks to the program’s requirements for portions of patient interactions to occur via electronic means.

According to the 26th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, patient engagement has risen quickly to the top of priority lists for healthcare CIOs and senior IT executives. This represents a dramatic shift from results in prior years that showed financial goals were of primary concern.

Mobile health tools are the most viable option to accomplish the goal of providing better quality engagement between doctors and patients. Aside from the simple convenience of mHealth tools, apps, etc., it’s also the avenue patients want to use in order to get more involved and engaged with their healthcare.

A 2014 FICO survey of more than 2,000 smartphone users across the world noted:

  • 80 percent interested in using their phone to interact with healthcare providers
  • 80 percent receive reminders of upcoming appointments
  • 34 percent look for medical advice on their smartphones
  • 32 percent monitor personal health risks via smartphones

mHealth provides more than just patient-centered benefits, too. In the past, healthcare providers observed difficulty in keeping patients focused on diet and medication plans. With mHealth tools, however, that’s an area that will also see improvements, according to a case study done by HIMSS.

mHealth technologies empower care providers to improve engagement by prioritizing and setting incremental, patient-centered goals that allow patients to build on small successes and turn them into large, sustainable health improvements,” the case study explains.

Whether it’s through activity or nutrition trackers or simple medication reminders, the use of mHealth tools offer healthcare providers the ability and resources to access “ongoing, real-time data” of their patients. This kind of monitoring ability not only gives providers a more accurate measure of their patient’s healthcare, but it also provides more effective ways of delivering care.

While mHealth may be relatively new in the healthcare industry, the tangible benefits to both patients and providers can’t be ignored. As the world continues to rely more on mobile technology for day-to-day needs and tasks, it’s only a matter of time before that same technological reliance transforms patient engagement and our healthcare as a whole.

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