Health care providers have historically been hesitant to embrace mobile technology as it relates to building apps that will directly impact patient care. Up until recent years, apps have been seen as a toy rather than a tool, and for some health care administrators that stereotype has been enough to deter them from pursuing apps.
In this week’s reading however, I came across a study being done by psychologist Kenneth R. Weingardt at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. There at Northwestern, they have been doing clinical trials utilizing responsive websites (websites that work well on many devices) and mobile apps. Two examples of these are the ThinkFeelDo website and a suite of apps called Intellicare. (Intellicare is currently available for android devices.) The advantage of these technologies is that by using content such as text, video, and animation they can provide virtual coaching to help the patient walk through the exercises in the app or use the app in other ways to further their treatment.
At this time, the apps that Northwestern is studying are aimed at helping mental health patients with cognitive behavioral therapy. Thus far, they have discovered that the apps do seem to have an impact on reducing the duration of depressive episodes.
Looking into the future, there are some very real advantages to developing apps that will benefit the patients of our health care systems. Some of these benefits are:
Although the medical profession has been slow in adopting this technology, the simple truth is that giving a patient tools to help them cope is better than dealing with their frustrations concerning wait times, appointments, and lack of attention. Alleviating even some of these stressors will help both patient and health care provider. Giving the patient some avenue to actively engage in their own health care will bring them into the process instead of making them feel like they are only the object of the process.
Joseph Siemienczuk, MD. of Northwestern said, “We have to follow the communication preferences of the community and it is clear that their communication preferences have moved to mobile technology… As we pursue effectiveness, moving patient engagement activities to mobile technology is an imperative.”
To learn more about how information technology like mobile apps can help you facilitate better health outcomes for your patients contact Apex by phone (800) 310-2739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today. We would be happy to consult with you concerning your IT needs.