How App-based Patient Interactions are shaping the Healthcare industry

In the latest years there have been a number of approaches that leverages smartphones and wearables devices to enhance patients’ condition, attitude and habits. Mainly we can identify two approaches: I) gamification to promote healthy behavioral change in a preventive fashion, II) continuative data collection to provide practitioners with exhaustive data about their patients’ health.

Gamification works well to induce desired behaviors. The most notable example is cancer: if everyone adopted a safer lifestyle, cancer incidence would fall dramatically. In fact more than half of cancer cases are due to unhealthy habits. The connubial is straightforward, induce healthy lifestyle via challenging Apps in order to reduce illness risk. A number of studies have been conducted to investigate what are the most effective features to measure and the most effective ways to induce the patients to perform a lifestyle change, breast-cancer being one of the most studied. Such Apps are extremely useful for the general public, not only because of the effect of boosting healthy habits but also for the data that they are collecting. The dataset of heartbeats, pressure, feelings can be inspected by practitioners to have a grasp of the patient history. Needless to say that collecting and navigating the data gathered by Apps is a task which is related to the capabilities of the healthcare providers IT systems.

Data collection about patients which are already in therapy has been proven incredibly powerful to guide medical decisions. In particular we refer to a study on a mobile App for lung cancer stage produced by Institut Inter-regional de Cancérologie Jean Bernard. The patients were given an app where to note their day by day status, the doctors reviewed the updates weekly and decided whether to modify the care, call for more exams or continue the observation. Findings where extraordinary: the survivability was much higher for patients using the app because the continuous stream of information helped the practitioners to make better decisions and tune the medications and periodic checkups accordingly. In fact the standard period for check-ups used in normal procedures is indicative but may vary greatly between patients.

Mobile apps have been proven impactful both in prevention and in ongoing care of patients. Their data can be integrated in a single patient-history collection point, which will provide an additional tool for anamnesis. The current industry challenges from an IT point view are the integration of different data sources and a privacy compliant infrastructure to treat such sensible data. Will you like to know more about how patient data can be used to create a better healthcare service, most definitely get in contact with our team.

Sources

Overall survival in patients with lung cancer using a web-application-guided follow-up compared to standard modalities: Results of phase III randomized trial. In Proc. 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting

Towards research-tested smartphone applications for preventing breast cancer. Mhealth, 2016 Jun; 2: 26.

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