As patient engagement becomes more prevalent in contemporary healthcare, it is important we acknowledge its various opportunities for advancement. By explicitly identifying specific avenues for innovation, we should ideally be able to accelerate its ultimate improvement because we will know which direction we are heading. To elaborate further, there are several burgeoning platforms for increasing patient engagement at this time. I have listed some of the most prominent (and predictable) below:
MHealth apps generally offer a mobile platform for patient portals. These apps intend to bring the utmost convenience to medical information. With just the touch of a finger, patients should ideally be able to recall their prescription information and medical histories at will, thus greatly facilitating conversation between medical professionals and less medically versed patients.
Just as well, patients will ideally be able to send messages to their providers, which means they will also be able to request prescriptions refills and view lab results without jumping through cumbersome bureaucratic red-tape. This is especially significant because not only will the information be more readily available, but patients should as a whole be better engaged. In fact, according to a study from Kelton and Makovsky Health, 66% of Americans would use a mobile application (like an mHealth app) to manage health-related issues.
Considering the extent to which applications already dominate mobile interface, it only makes sense that a mobile application relevant to the healthcare industry would be of tremendous help.
While mhealth apps pose a wonderful opportunity for increased patient engagement, applications do not have the same disruption capabilities that wearable devices may allow. This is because while wearable devices hold all the same prospects as mHealth apps like information management and prescription renewal requests, wearable devices will also be able to monitor real-time physical developments.
For instance, if a diabetic patient wants to monitor their glucose level over a specified period of time, a wearable device could provide in-depth analysis and with it a greater understanding of potential glucose fluctuations. Just as well, if a patient wants to review the numbers with their doctor, they will likely be able to gain significantly more insight into their daily medical decisions and what they can do to better their overall health.
The future of healthcare is patient engagement, and the future of patient engagement lies in bolstering the use of mobile applications and wearable devices.