The mHealth industry is rapidly growing as it can help patients, doctors and carers take control of health information, wherever they are.From simple apps, which help one stick to an exercise regime – to monitoring tools for those on kidney dialysis-the possibility is endless. mHealth has the potential to play a part in the transformation of healthcare and increase its quality and efficiency.
mHealth contributes to the empowerment of patients: they could manage their health more actively, live more independently thanks to self-assessment or remote monitoring solutions. mHealth can also support healthcare professionals in treating patients more efficiently as mobile apps can encourage adherence to a healthy lifestyle.
These benefits can be grouped into 3 categories; capturing data on mobile, real-time data tracking and monitoring chronic diseases.
Capturing data on mobile
Hospital setting: Electronic Health Records (EHR) via mHealth
One setting where mHealth is useful is in a hospital setting. Information workflow in hospitals can be an issue. For example, when there is a change in shifts amongst doctors and nursing staff or when multiple specialists is attending one patient, a lot of information can get lost in transition.
mHealth is a mobile system that has potentials for allowing better medical information flow in hospitals. Via sensors and iBeacons, the system monitors parameters such as blood glucose levels, nutritional intake, administered drugs and insulin sensitivity and gives therapy advice; the data is stored on a server and is shared via wireless devices (like tablets and smartphones) used by the medical staff.
Integration of mHealth with wearable tech and Medical Devices
There are a lot of wearable technology and medical devices in the market used for healthcare. These wearable tech and devices are primarily used to assist patient treatment and creating the mobile element for these devices enhances the usage of them.
A mobile healthcare App developed by specialist mobile healthcare app developers can be integrated with a device to assist in data capture and visualizes the data for analysis. This allows for quick decision and action to be made based on the data outcomes-see real-time tracking below.
There is a demand to create more value in healthcare i.e. the key is analyzing huge data sets rapidly and provide a single source of truth for transactions and analyses. Capturing data on an application built for mobile or wireless device proves a positive impact for value creation in healthcare.
Clinical trials and electronic clinical outcomes (eCOA) via mHealh
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. The emergence and popularity of patient-centric mobile applications provides a great opportunity for pharmaceutical manufacturers to engage patients and create a customized, direct relationship with them via electronic clinical outcomes assessments (eCOA) on mobile wireless device.
The clinical trial space provides an excellent channel to leverage these mHealth technologies. The integration of mobile technology in new clinical trial design and business strategy development holds promise for aligning site and patient needs with faster study execution and reduced costs.
Electronic Clinical Outcome Assessments (eCOAs) measure a patient’s symptoms, overall mental state, or the effects of a disease or condition on how the patient functions and this can be captured easily over a mobile device. Having this captured on a mobile device enable patients to send data to their clinicians on real-time, and not to mention easily accessible since more and more people have smartphones.
The data from eCOAs is used to determine whether or not a drug has been demonstrated to provide treatment benefit. COA measures include: Patient-reported outcome (PRO).
Clinician-reported outcome (ClinRO), Observer-reported outcome (ObsRO)-all of which can be capture via a mobile device via customized application.
Real time tracking
Real time is a level of computer responsiveness that a user senses as sufficiently immediate or that enables the computer to keep up with some external process. Tracking real-time data can be done in various situations:
- Information flow in a hospital setting for nurses to monitor patients and react when there are any biological changes on the patients
- Data on Blood pressure, pulse rate, calories burnt during a fitness exercise
- Analyze clinical information at the point of care and support health providers as they make prescriptive decisions
- Monitoring chronic diseases-see next section
In essence, mHealth is able to capture such comprehensive information help establish a baseline for normal functioning. Deviations from this baseline can then be tracked on a moment-to-moment basis.
Monitor Chronic disease
mHealth can be a guide for patients with chronic diseases. Currently, mHealth is has been implemented to monitor heart, diabetes and asthma (COPD) patients.
These monitoring via mHealth works hand in hand with a wearable technology. For e.g. the patient wears sensors that can monitor their bio-signals (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure); these signals are transmitted to their smartphone or wireless device and from there to a powerful back-end computer.
The data generated is analysed and alerts the patient about actions that should be taken and asks them questions, in case additional information is needed. This flow of system makes recommendations regarding lifestyle changes or contacts care providers.
All recommendations regarding therapy, based on evidence-based and state-of-the-art clinical guidelines, are transmitted to the patients’ care providers.
In addition, remote monitoring from a patient’s home is an integral component of providing comprehensive care management. New technologies that enhance management and coordination of care for seniors and patients with chronic conditions will become indispensable tools supporting care management models.
Real-time data is key to optimizing care quality, easing the burden of overwhelming caseloads, and reducing costs.
There are boundless data in healthcare about every patient, condition, procedure, and drug across multiple providers and organization.
The ability to access, manage, connect and understand this data to create actionable insights is critical to improving care and outcomes-and mHealth has the potential to progress this further.