mHealth program helps to foster patient self-management in U.K.

Phone and face-to-face contact with community nurses was reduced by 26 percent just after one month of use of mobile technology, lessening pressure on primary care providers according to new data from the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, a National Health Service organization responsible for commissioning hospital and community health services to ensure that the health needs in the U.K. community of Bristol. Over six months, the figure jumped from 60 percent to 100 percent regarding phone contact, and 48 percent to 68 percent regarding one-on-one contact.

"Mobile healthcare has enabled us to adopt new working practices," Bristol Community Matron Chris Stevens said in an announcement. "Rather than spending time on routine monitoring visits, we are now proactive in the care of patients who are at high risk of exacerbation and unplanned hospital admission, intervening at the time when they need us most."

Gaining efficiency provides nurses with more opportunity to take a proactive care approach, according to Bristol CCG. Mobile tools also boosted patient self-management of 1,100 patients, dealing with chronic heart failure or obstructive pulmonary disease, enrolled in a six-to-nine month home monitoring program.

"Mobile healthcare has the potential to offer an efficient sustainable care pathway for the management of patients with long-term conditions," Martin Jones, chair of Bristol CCG, said.

The findings are the result of a three-year program Bristol initiated in 2011.

Mobile tools are helping nurses do their jobs better at a wide range of healthcare facilities. As the FierceHealthIT eBook "Technology to Enable Care Transitions" reveals, mobile devices are helping with nurse-patient communication following discharge from Boston Children's Hospital. A mobile app called DisCo sends texts to patients within 24 to 48 hours after discharge to check whether they've filled prescriptions, to schedule or confirm follow-up appointments and address any issues patients may have.

Additionally, nurses nurses with Sutter Care at Home--which serves nearly 100,000 homebound patients across 23 counties in northern California--now can send photos securely to the office for inclusion in a patient's electronic medical record.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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