Recent studies have shown that mobile healthcare and texting apps, in collaboration with physicians, help patients improve monitoring and management of chronic illnesses and medication adherence. A study conducted on a small group at Washington University in St. Louis found that using two-way texting to communicate with patients could be more effective in promoting medication adherence than the use of a reminder tool alone.
Increased communication with patients, through the use of monitoring applications, patient-facing messaging and telehealth apps, can also help physicians develop a deeper understanding of the exact reasons why individual patients are not taking their medications. Evaluating these causes and trends help physicians and patients work together to develop more personalized approaches to medication adherence and medical treatments.
Physicians are able to remind patients to take their medications, as well as ask relevant questions about their health conditions and well-being. With real time feedback providers were able to identify issues sooner and make needed adjustments. In the study, texting patients allowed for a growth in engagement levels, never falling below 75%, causing improved management of chronic conditions, increasing the probability of better medical outcomes.
Patients have also experienced improvements in health and pain management when using a combination of mHealth apps and wearable devices. A research study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research revealed that patients with osteoarthritis in their knees, who were given a mobile app and wearable activity monitoring device, experienced a greater decrease in pain than patients who only received the activity monitoring device.
Use of a Jawbone wearable monitoring device accompanied by the mHealth app that sent motivational messages and recorded patient moods raised the amount of daily physical activity with intentions of decreasing pain. Patient Group A, that used the app and Jawbone monitor, averaged a greater number of steps at 1199 and saw a 35.8% gain in mobility compared to Group B that only received the monitor. Group B averaged 467 daily steps and only an 11.5% increase in mobility.
Both studies, although performed on small test groups, support the inclusion of mobile apps and wearable technology to enhance communication and data gathering for patients. As healthcare continues to adopt technological advances, patients continue to benefit from more personalized care, increases in self-care behavior and treatment management for chronic diseases, resulting in greater outcomes.