GSMA: mHealth perceived globally as effective for chronic disease treatment

Global views are overwhelmingly positive when it comes to the potential of mHealth solutions to address the challenges of chronic disease worldwide, according to a new white paper from mobile industry organization GSMA.  Eighty-nine percent of healthcare practitioners, 75 percent of patients, and 73 percent of consumers believe mHealth solutions can convey significant health benefits in treating chronic diseases such as diabetes that are the leading cause of mortality in the world.

Among the challenges that mHealth can address, according to the paper: high healthcare costs, high medicine waste, inequality of care, and the biggest challenge in chronic disease management--facilitating behavioral changes. Seventy-five percent of practitioners interviewed believe that the No. 1 challenge for their patients is the difficulty of following diet/lifestyle changes.

Nevertheless, more than 60 percent of general wellness consumers believe in the power of mHealth solutions to change their behavior. Additionally, 60 percent of consumers believe that mHealth solutions would allow them to manage their health more independently.

Funded by GSMA, the global end-user research included the perceptions of 2,000 HCPs, patients, and consumers gathered in interviews between March and June of this year. Diabetes, a disease that afflicts 8.3 percent of adults or 366 million people worldwide, is used as an example throughout the white paper.

According to GSMA, bad diet/lifestyle habits are fueling chronic disease epidemics such as diabetes. Among the diabetes end users questioned, both HCPs and patients acknowledged the considerable behavioral challenges of this chronic condition.

Seventy-three percent of diabetes HCPs believe patients have difficulty following diet/lifecycle changes, and 53 percent believe that patients have difficulty remembering to take medication. GSMA argues that mHealth solutions can drive behavioral changes, including improved compliance, to reduce medicine waste. 

This argument seems to be supported by research published earlier this year in Clinical Therapeutics that showed that text message reminders can significantly improve diabetic patients' adherence to their medication. In the study of 580 people, those who received text message reminders better adhered to their oral medication regimen (85 percent) than those who did not (77 percent). Among those who took a chronic oral antidiabetes medication, the percentages were even higher (91 percent versus 82 percent).

To learn more:
- read the white paper (.pdf)