App, portal help spina bifida patients with self-care tasks

Use of a smartphone app, a clinician portal and real-time, two-way messaging can help spina bifida patients manage self-care tasks, according to a report published at BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.

The app provides patients with reminders on care treatment and scheduling and the bi-directional communication via the app and the portal lets clinicians monitor patients' self-care tasks and allows patients to ask physicians about skin problems as needed. The solution, called SkinCare, also lets caregivers share new data, such as wound care instruction, or messages even when the smartphone is not active.

According to the research team, made up of experts from the University of Pittsburgh and MGH Institute of Health Professions, patients with spina bifida deal with chronic skin complications that can be prevented.

"The objective of this research is to develop an innovative mHealth system to support self-skincare tasks, skin condition monitoring, adherence to self-care regimens, skincare consultation, and secure two-way communications between patients and clinicians," according to the report's authors. The SkinCare systems is part of a broader mHealth solution called iMHere SkinCare and a study of its impact involved a small patient pool in the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia region. The telehealth group included 14 patients.

The study results, according to the report, align with recent research and studies on the efficacy of mHealth tools in telehealth and remote care situations. The use of remote patient monitoring systems is in play at more than half of hospitals and health systems in the U.S. One new tool in this area is helping hydrocephalus patients and caregivers better track data relating to surgeries and treatment and replaces the paper-based care monitoring approach regarding shunt implants.

The SkinCare research results indicate a teledermatology service delivery model boasts "unprecedented opportunities" for new innovation services, the report's authors add.

For more information:
- read the research report

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