According to a report from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases.
Chronic disease patients usually require attention and medicinal correction more frequently than can be covered through routine visits to the care provider. There is a need for patients and care providers to be connected to each other for better management of chronic diseases. There is also a need to reduce the overall cost of treating chronic diseases. Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 75 percent of U.S. healthcare dollars go to treatment of chronic diseases.
Role of mobile technology in healthcare
Hospitals and care providers are working with mobile technology companies to build mobile solutions for patients and care providers that fills the gap between the doctor visits, provides a way for patients to regularly provide info related to their state of health to the doctor and enables doctors to provide medicinal help and guidance to better manage the disease.
Mobile apps, which are a core part of the overall disease management solution, intuitively let patients provide complete and frequent information related to their disease, which is then accessible to the care provider on his desktop or mobile device.
By providing regular info related to the symptoms (for example, mood, pain or fatigue), health state (level of exercise or anxiety) and medical adherence on their mobile device, the patient is able to adequately communicate his health status to the care provider.
On one hand, mobile apps intelligently and visually provide the overall health status to the patient along with corrective indicators and, on the other hand, give an opportunity to the care provider to suggest corrective actions.
Care providers research and provision a well-defined quality-of-care checklist into the solution for each patient to make sure that the goals which are required as part of managing the disease are met and the ones which are not met (a vaccine, for example) by a due date are flagged. A complete notification system is usually built into the app to remind patients on the vaccines, medicine reminders, next doctor appointment and other events related to disease management.
Recently, InnovationM developed a mobile healthcare solution for a New York hospital to help the hospital manage their chronic disease patients more effectively, thereby improving the quality of life of such patients.
Such mobile solutions are also a health-record book that stores info such as current and past medications, clinical test reports, notes from a doctor visit, ER and hospital visit records, list of allergies, care provider and pharmacy info and contact details. The complete current and historical patient record related to the disease is always securely available as a reference to the patient as well as the care provider on a desktop or mobile device.
The app is also a knowledge base for the specific chronic disease, as it includes articles, manuals and videos especially picked and provisioned by the care provider to provide education on the disease to the patients.
While mobile is an important channel through which patients can provide key info related to their disease whenever they want and wherever they are, it is equally important for technology companies to provide additional channels through which patients can interact with the system such as desktop and IVR. The hospitals, on the other hand, set up technology support teams to assist patients on the use of technology, which helps them to interact with the care provider more often.
Collaborative app development
The key to success of such chronic disease management solutions is the intuitiveness and quality-of-care checklist provided by the care providers to manage the disease. Every interaction between the patient and the app should be so intuitive that the patients do not shy away from using the solution.
While the mobile design and development companies provide technology behind such healthcare management apps and solutions, it is important for the care providers to collaborate with the technology teams to create solutions that tremendously help to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic diseases.
Ashish Seth is the co-founder and head of mobile services at InnovationM, a specialized mobile design and development company based in India with a U.S. presence. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or on Twitter @InnovationM_.