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Mobile Health Tools Improve Engagement in Spina Bifida Patients

- As manufacturers and entrepreneurs continue to create new and innovative technologies to benefit the healthcare industry, more evidence is found that mobile health tools strengthen patient engagement with their own health and wellness.

Mobile Health for Spina Bifida

For instance, mHealth apps can help consumers track their calorie intake, physical activity, and even blood pressure with the help of a wearable blood pressure cuff. Additionally, there are applications that can be used to better track medication intake.

One study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation shows that mobile health tools can be used to help patients better manage Spina Bifida. This is another example in which mobile health tools have brought greater patient engagement in handling the side effects of chronic medical conditions.   

The clinical researchers used the Mobile Health and Rehabilitation (iMHere) system to determine the both the physical and mental health outcomes of patients with Spina Bifida. The study consisted of both an experimental group and a control group.

In the experimental group, 13 participants were followed and provided typical care along with inclusion of mobile health tools. The control group was made up of 10 participants who received the usual care for treating and managing Spina Bifida. All of the participants were followed for one year.

In the experimental group, the participants used a smartphone application and received daily reminders for managing self-care tasks. The mobile health tools also gave the patients an opportunity to upload photos of any wounds or body damage for their provider to view.

Additionally, the mobile health tools promoted patient engagement by offering a secure messaging system allowing patients to communicate efficiently with their physicians. Surveys were also administered to determine the mental health stability of each study participant.

Participants who used the mobile health tools regularly were seen to have a more positive outcome with regard to managing self-care tasks. The researchers concluded that using mobile health tools among Spina Bifida patients offers “short-term self-reported improvements in self-management skill.” Additionally, the study authors find that mHealth applications can help improve self-management in various chronic care designs.

Along with the use of mobile health tools, there are varying strategies that can improve patient engagement with their health. EHRIntelligence.com recently reported how pharmacies in Arkansas are improving medication adherence through a patient engagement system.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the Arkansas Pharmacists Association performed a study showing that patients were 2.57 times more adherent to their prescribed drugs when the patient engagement system was deployed.

“Pharmacists across the nation are helping patients improve adherence by offering a high touch and personalized adherence program called Appointment-Based Medication Synchronization (ABMS),” the study reported.

“This model helps patients manage their prescriptions through a monthly appointment to refill medications and scheduled interactions with the pharmacist. By simplifying the pharmacy’s workflow, the pharmacist has more time for valuable patient interactions and other services that help improve health outcomes. Patients’ personal connection with a pharmacist or pharmacy staff is the number one predictor of medication adherence.”

The inclusion of pharmacists in the overall healthcare delivery system is also important in enhancing health outcomes and patient engagement throughout the country. A paper published by the National Governors Association mentions the importance of increasing the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists.

“The critical role that medication management plays in treating chronic diseases suggests that the integration of pharmacists into chronic-care delivery teams has the potential to improve health outcomes. Studies of pharmacists providing medication therapy management (MTM) services to improve therapeutic outcomes indicate that such services can improve outcomes and reduce costs,” the paper stated.

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