The explosive growth of mobile technology has had dramatic results within the health care industry, changing relationships between providers and patients, and giving individuals the information required to take more personal responsibility for their own care. Ultimately, this shift in the industry toward mobile apps has the potential to greatly improve public health as a whole.
Mobile health appsare examples of an emerging technology that is already changing the face of health care as we know it. In the future, many things that we must take time and be physically present for will be done digitally, and often in real time. Mobile health apps will schedule appointments, provide patient education, track conditions, help monitor medications, and much more. The growing capabilities of mobile health apps will engage patients in their own health care in new ways and will provide doctors with up-to-the-minute health information about patients streaming in from multiple sources. Following are three ways these advances in mobile technology are helping to improve the healthcare industry.
1. Improved collection of accurate healthcare data
Symptom data for medical research can be collected from patients using mobile wellness applications. This data is likely to be valuable because it is personalized and accurate, and can be proactively entered by patients in close proximity to symptom occurrence, as opposed to reactively reported by physicians at a later time. At the same time, current mobile technologies can connect each set of data entered to a time stamp and a geo-location, which may help medical researchers to establish patterns valuable in research.
2. Increased medication compliance
Some mobile health care apps send patients pharmacy messages and medication information which can help them to follow specific medication instructions, as well as schedule dosage time reminders and follow-up questions to ensure medications have been taken. These same medication-tracking apps can calculate the refill date for prescriptions and send automatic reminders to patients or automatic refill orders to pharmacies. All of these applications can assist patients in adhering to medication orders, reducing medication noncompliance, one of the largest factors involved in emergency hospital readmissions.
3. Improved post-treatment understanding for patients
Mobile health care apps can be a convenient tool in monitoring hospital discharge instructions. Often, patients are overwhelmed by the detailed medication and after care instructions they receive when they leave a doctor’s office or hospital. Mobile apps can send post-treatment reminders and symptoms surveys so that patients will actively self-review their symptoms and instructions after leaving treatment facilities.
Mobile health care apps are here to stay. The potential impact of this growth in mobile technology on the health care system will be explosive, and cannot be overstated.
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