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Idea Apps for patient engagement

By Ricky Leung | 03 Dec, 2014

Patients all over the world now have access to mobile devices—such as cell phones that can run mobile apps. Apps are gold to increase patient engagement.

Consider depression patients: Resource constraints make it difficult for many of them to receive adequate face-to-face consultation from psychiatrists, nurses and other caregivers. Mobile apps facilitate distance communication. In particular, a social media platform integrated with mobile apps enables depression patients to receive increased support from family members, friends, and other patients. As plenty of research evidence shows, social support is the key to self-management and recovery for depression patients.

Nevertheless, the use of mobile apps—even if they are efficient—necessitates time and effort. From the viewpoint of professional caregivers, insurers must be willing to reimburse services provided through mobile apps or the technology may not be embraced enthusiastically. Government agencies and insurance companies must carefully consider reimbursement mechanisms. What are relevant benchmarks? Are there differences between the developed and less developed worlds?

Mobile apps also allow data collection about patients’ social networks. If these data can be synthesized with electronic health records (EHR)—without breaching patients’ confidentiality—positive health outcomes can result. But is it possible to synthesize social media data and EHR? How? What may be other "big data" opportunities here?


Anne-Marie Audet Replied at 2:38 PM, 10 Dec 2014


Excellent idea -needs to be fleshed out though. So have you looked at what already exists re. apps for behavioral health? To better understand how you would develop your idea? There are quite a few:

UK is also a great example with the Big White Wall - pretty advanced.

The other question is what is the logic model you are thinking of - that is how would an app meant to improve depression work? Based on evidence? Having a logic model that lays out major drivers of depression and then allows you to clarify how your solution would address those is essential.

Andrey Ostrovsky Advisor Replied at 8:11 PM, 11 Dec 2014

Hi Ricky - Research (link below) done by the institute for healthcare improvement about the types of apps that exist out there and their level of 1) achieving the triple aim AND 2) catering to patient engagement found some interesting trends:

1) Digital health companies usually do not simultaneously emphasize achievement of improving the patient experience and the other two of the triple aims
2) Investment decisions into digital health startups are made with little evidence to support achievement of the improving patient experience
3) There is no preference in startup investment based on whether they cater to improving patient experience

You've hit on a real need.

Attached resources:

Soojin Jun Replied at 1:31 AM, 13 Dec 2014

Ricky and all,
I know patient engagement is a buzzword these days, but I really see a desperate need of provider engagement but I like to use the word patient-provider relationship improvement. I actually do not like the word patient engagement or provider engagement as they sound as if they are one-sided needs when they are not. In your thinking process, I like you to think if it is really patient engagement that is critical. There are tools out there that patients use, such as, and they are fully engaged and are willing to share their information. This does not represent all patients, but what about for providers? Do providers want to be "engaged" in more activities with technology than traditional practice of seeing patients? Are there enough ways and tools for the providers? Most apps out there seem to be one-sided solution, not both ways. Tools for providers and tools for patients are two separate categories; the need is, to me, tools that connect the data from providers to patients and from patients to providers.

So while you are at this idea, I like you to think in terms of how to improve patient provider relationship. After all, engaged data will not mean anything if the other party is not recognizing the importance. I have seen many patients in that their providers don't care for the data provided, but few do. For these patients who are already engaged, how can we make physicians to care more?

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