That’s a long title, but the study essentially showed that increased patient engagement led to higher survivorship of cancer patients and that mobile health (mHealth) apps was crucial to empowering those survivors. This conclusion highlights the potential and realized benefits of mobile and wireless devices to help individuals care for themselves and their loved ones like never before!
According to the AMIA, mHealth and patient engagement can and does help patients and caregivers by:
- Promoting healthy lifestyle and behavior changes
- Providing “just-in-time” support for specific patients at specific times
- Connecting patients, caregivers, and providers to create support networks
mHealth apps for patient engagement are generally created according to something called the Patient Engagement Framework. This framework provides guidance for developers to ensure that mHealth apps are providing value to patients and caregivers.
These guidelines indicate that mHealth apps should meet one or more of the following:
- Inform Me: Provide generalized information to patients and caregivers
- Engage Me: Track data and health information such as nutrition and fitness
- Empower Me: Allow patients to provide feedback and securely message with their providers
- Partner with Me: Empower the patient to care for themselves based on patient and provider data
- Support my e-Community: Connect patients with a broader care team and support network
The study acknowledges most apps are still not very sophisticated and have not met expectations for data sharing, provider communication, and patient-to-patient communication. However, there are many mHealth providers that are growing quickly and the government is consistently passing new legislation in support of mHealth.
Studies like this provide real proof that patient engagement not only supports better patient outcomes but demonstrates that patients and caregivers want to engage in their healthcare. As such, in the very near future you can expect to see only higher collaboration between mHealth developers and healthcare providers to empower patients and caregivers.