How Mobile Devices Improve Patient Experience, Quality of Life

Boston Scientific, Google's contest winners highlight patient engagement, data's role in digital ch…

Patient engagement and purposeful data implementation were common discussion points during the finals of a digital health pitch competition held last night inside Google’s Cambridge, Massachusetts offices.

First kicked off in October, the fourth annual Connected Patient Challenge — cosponsored by Boston Scientific and the tech giant — featured six startup finalists whose offerings were specifically focused on reducing the burden of chronic diseases.

Following pitches from each, a panel of four judges awarded the top prize and $30,000 of in-kind support to Nutrimedy, a HIPAA-compliant mobile and web service that connects patients to registered dietitians. The platform is backed by an algorithm that matches patients to professionals who specialize in providing nutrition guidance personalized to their specific chronic condition, as well as features to keep the patient engaged in their nutritional health such as photo meal logs, blogs, recipes and video or instant messaging with their counselor.

“We have a national network of registered dietitians that can provide nutrition care for any patient, with any condition, anywhere in the United States,” Mallory Franklin, director of nutrition services and engagement at Nutrimedy, said during her pitch presentation. “Our solution … can provide value across many areas of our healthcare system — we can work with health systems to provide programs for patient populations to better outcomes and improve their access to nutrition. We can work with biotech and medtech to pair Nutrimedy with pharmaceuticals and devices that patients are already receiving, and we can work with employers to design corporate wellness solutions for their employees.”

Life as a Healthcare CIO: Remote Patient Monitoring and Self-Responsibility

At HIMSS next week, I’ll be doing 5 presentations about the future of healthcare IT, focusing on patient directed data exchange, internet of things, and telemedicine. Remote patient monitoring, which combines all three, will be increasingly important.

Remote patient monitoring can take numerous forms, and the evidence supporting these tools is mixed. Here’s another excerpt from our new book—The Transformative Power of Mobile Medicine—co-authored by Paul Cerrato that dives into the issues. For those interested in reading the entire book, the publisher is offering a deep discount until March 31, 2019; coupon code: HIMSS2019.

Many thought leaders are convinced that remote patient monitoring improves patient care, but surveys suggest that health-care professionals are still not convinced. An analysis from the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst Insights Council asked respondents to rate various patient engagement initiatives. “Remotely monitoring using wireless devices/wearable” was listed as the least effective way to engage patients while having physicians, nurses, or other clinicians spend more time with patients was listed as the most effective tactic. [1] There is also uncertainty about the benefits of remote patient monitoring in the scientific literature. Of course, remote patient monitoring can take so many different forms that it’s impossible to make a blanket statement about its effectiveness. But a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that included more than 1400 patients (median age 73 years) who had been hospitalized for heart failure generated less than encouraging results. Michael Ong, MD, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues divided the group into an intervention arm, which received health coaching phone calls along with the collection of vital signs that included blood pressure, heart rates, symptoms, and weight with the help of electronic devices, and a control arm that received the usual care [2]. Ong et al. couldn’t find any significant difference in hospital readmission rates 180 days after discharge for any cause: 50.8% were readmitted despite having all the extra attention and access to all the high-tech monitoring devices versus 49.2% in the usual care arm. Similarly, the investigators detected no difference in 30-day readmission or 180-day mortality. The experimental group did, however, report better quality of life at 180 days.

HIMSS19 Readiness Guide: Patient Engagement and Experience

Most healthcare providers know outcomes improve when patients are actively engaged in the strategies and decisions regarding their care. Engaged patients are more apt to adhere to treatment and recovery plans, consume medications as prescribed and contact their providers if problems or complications arise.While patient engagement always has been important, it is even more crucial today thanks to advances in digital technology and the increasing demands of patients for personalized and frictionless healthcare experiences. In fact, according to the September 2018 Patient Experience Study, conducted by HIMSS Analytics on behalf of Spectrum Enterprise, fewer than 50 percent of patients were extremely or very satisfied across all primary points of engagement along the patient journey. Patients are paying more out of their pockets than ever, which causes them to think more like consumers and to demand the right services, cost transparency, and more information from their health files, including notes written by their providers in EMRs, said John Sharp, senior manager of the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA), a HIMSS organization dedicated to healthcare innovation. They have higher expectations of the healthcare system and the technology that enables them to be consumers which further raises their expectations.Unfortunately, many providers are struggling to adjust to the modern era of patient engagement, according to Jan Oldenburg, a healthcare consultant and principal editor of Participatory Healthcare, published by HIMSS.