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Study Finds Patient Engagement Opportunities High With mHealth

By Ryan Mcaskill

Seventy-two percent of healthcare professionals believe mobile apps can improve patient responsibility.

The impact of mobile technology on healthcare is happening in a number of ways. One way that could have the biggest effect of overall health is through patient engagement.

Research Now conducted a survey of 500 healthcare professionals and 1,000 mobile health app users. The goal was to determine role that mobile devices and application play when it come to patient engagement. The results show that both healthcare professionals and patients are embracing the impact that new technology.

According to the numbers, a majority of healthcare professionals embrace the use of mobile applications for tracking patient health. The survey found that 72 percent believe that health applications will encourage patients to take greater responsibility in their health. Furthermore, 86 percent believe that it will increase patient knowledge of their condition and 50 percent believe it will increase the efficiency of patient treatment.

There is also a strong belief from professionals (76 percent) that patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, will benefit the most from mobile health applications. Other groups that healthcare professionals stated they could help through mobile apps include those with high-risk of developing health issues (61 percent), healthy people (55 percent) and patients recently discharged (48 percent).

Within the next five years, 46 percent of clinicians said they would be introducing mobile apps to their practice because they would improve the doctor-patient relationship. It was also discovered that 59 percent of healthcare professionals use their smartphone for access medical research, while 28 percent plan to do so in the next five years.

However, for improved healthcare through mobile apps to happen, patients need to embrace them as well. The study found that a high majority of app users (96 percent) believe that mHealth apps have the potential to improve the quality of their care. Most patients are only tracking their eating and fitness. Only 30 percent use them to monitor a health condition and 29 percent use them to track medication.

The results of this survey echo similar ones conducted earlier this year. One, conducted by research firm Kelton and Makovsky Health, found comparable excitement levels for the use of mobile technology.

"Smartphones and wearables are driving a major behavioral shift in consumer health and wellness," Gil Bashe, executive vice president, Makovsky Health, said in the report. "Beyond a desire to speed access to information, consumers are using technology to engage proactively in managing their health – and a personality of 'search' is influenced by specific medical conditions.”

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