Utilizing Mobile Health Apps to Enhance Member Engagement & Self-Management

4 minute read, posted on 07/10/2024, by VXI Marketing

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Mobile health monitoring apps have become increasingly popular in recent years. Most of them can be integrated into healthcare provider systems and so they allow patients to constantly engage with their healthcare provider and to self-manage their condition from home. 

The most common apps are the ones we are all used to seeing on our cellphones. This includes Apple Health, Google Fit, Fitbit, and Samsung Health. These apps typically track sleep, physical activity, nutrition, and other metrics, such as mood and stress, to help monitor any potential mental health issues. 

These apps are useful, but generally are not focused on specific conditions. They can be very helpful when paired with a wearable device like the Apple Watch, so heart rate and ECG can be monitored for anomalies, but there are now several more specialized devices for patients with identified risks. 

The devices currently available fall into four broad categories: 

  • Cardiovascular conditions: Irregular heartbeats, heart rhythm, unusual blood pressure, or even an oncoming heart attack can all be automatically detected. 
  • Metabolism and respiratory conditions: Oxygen levels in the blood and blood sugar can be constantly monitored — extremely helpful for patients with ongoing conditions like diabetes. 
  • Neurological conditions: Sleep disorders, such as apnea, can be monitored in detail and patients at risk of seizure can use a device like the Empatica Embrace, which detects when a seizure is imminent allowing the wearer to find a safe place to rest and automatically call for help. 
  • Chronic Conditions: The Propeller Health sensor can track the usage of asthma inhalers and create alerts if doses are missed, likewise the BodyGuardian Heart device can monitor heart conditions 24/7 and create alerts as a heart starts to fail. 
  • General Health: Step counters and other physical activity monitors as well as devices like the Fitbit or Garmin Vivosmart 4 that can measure stress and advise on calming techniques in real time. 

 These devices offer considerable benefits both to the patients using the devices and the medical professionals caring for the patients. 

The patient has the benefit of continuous monitoring, rather than checking their condition only when they visit a doctor. This creates the opportunity to detect issues early and prevent catastrophic problems developing beyond the possibility for treatment. They are convenient and easy to use and can offer a personal insight into the health of the patient that can often encourage the patient to adopt a healthier lifestyle. 

Most of all, they offer peace of mind to patients and their families. Anyone living with the knowledge that their heart has an irregular rhythm knows that a 24/7 monitor connected directly to their healthcare provider gives a huge boost to personal confidence. 

For healthcare groups and medical professionals these devices automatically collect a large amount of medical data, allowing the health of the patient to be viewed over a longer period — not just a snapshot when visiting the hospital. Early intervention because of alerts will usually lead to better health outcomes. Patients are also likely to comply far more closely with the doctor’s advice if they know they are being monitored. 

There is a useful benefit for the business side of healthcare too. These devices allow intervention to take place only as needed. There is no need for a constant series of scans and checkups with medical professionals if the device can indicate when they might be needed. Doctors can also use the data for their diagnosis — enhancing the accuracy of diagnosis rather than trying various “hit or miss” treatments when the symptoms are vague. 

In all these medical conditions the healthcare provider and patient can benefit from the recent improvement in apps and wearable monitors. Patient outcomes are improved, and medical professionals can achieve greater productivity — a true win-win situation for all. 

For information on healthcare outsourcing and how VXI can drive customer experience transformation for members and patients, please click here. 

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