Docs must engage with mHealth tools to educate, train patients

To help train and educate patients on the use of mobile health tools, physicians and caregivers must use the devices themselves to best understand how they work, according to Pua Cooper, RN.

Cooper, who serves as director of nursing and clinical informatics at Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Florida, says that clinicians must embrace apps before endorsing the tools to patients--even those with medical expertise face challenges in selection and use of mHealth devices, in a post for HIMSS News.

"Let's start by saying that not all apps are created equally. A simple search resulted in an overwhelming list of options," she writes. "Patients need help in understanding what is valuable to their healthcare team and what isn't. More features do not necessarily make it a better app."

Deciding what features to tap left her questioning whether her health data would be safe and secure, Cooper adds.

"Ultimately, I worked through my concerns and downloaded a mobile application, but it was not a 10-minute task, despite my working knowledge of medicine and technology," she says.

If healthcare professionals play a more active role in educating consumers and patients on what mHealth tech can offer, they can help to keep the patients engaged with the technology. 

Mobile health tools pose tremendous promise and potential in engaging patients in healthcare management. One example is app development at Mount Sinai. Ashish Atreja, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine, has worked with Mount Sinai's AppLab to develop an app for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease as part of a continuous engagement model that can help the hospital's physicians keep a "finger on the pulse" of each IBD patient.

For more information:
- read the post