Mobile prescription therapy critical to shifting mHealth into mainstream

As mobility becomes ingrained within mainstream healthcare, a critical element will be the integration of mobile prescription therapy, says a data science and image pattern recognition expert who describes the therapy as a confluence of clinical, behavioral and data science innovation.

Mobile prescription therapy (MPT) not only decentralizes healthcare delivery, but democratizes it as it empowers patients and providers, according to WellDoc Chief Data Science Officer Anand Iyer, in a recent HIMSS blog post.

"At its heart, MPT represents the convergence of mobile technology, clinical and behavioral science and validated clinical outcomes to create a new-to-the-world healthcare solution that supports patients in their daily self-care and provides their healthcare provider with additional data for decision-making," Iyer says.

A qualified MPT solution, he continues, will be automated, personalized and contextually relevant. It will differentiate from an mHealth app because it will be prescribed by a provider and adhere to both patient safety regulations and a good manufacturing process. It also will be reimbursed by a payer, he says.

Some family doctors have already begun "prescribing" mobile apps to patients that are more comfortable using mobile technology, according to research published last summer in The Journal of Family Practice.

Iyer lists five opportunities in MPT for patient engagement and the ability for earlier intervention and prevention. The first, called disease continuum, involves patients managing medications, lifestyle, metabolic measurements and symptoms.

As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, there is increasing adoption of mHealth tools by consumers, patients, providers and payers. Nineteen-million patients worldwide will use connected home medical monitoring devices by 2018, according to a report from research firm Berg Insight. In addition, four out of five smartphone users worldwide are interested in mHealth technology that will let them interact with healthcare providers, a new FICO survey reveals.

A Mobiquity report even recently said that 2014 will be the year mHealth apps hit the mainstream and become as ubiquitous as mobile games, personal time management software and retail shopping apps as 70 percent of consumers are using fitness and health monitoring apps on a daily basis and 63 percent plan to expand use over the next five years.

Such mHealth tech embrace is critical for MPT integration and to drive mHealth to become mainstream health, notes Iyer.

"The efficacy of MPT will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with drugs and devices," he says. "But unlike drugs and devices alone, MPT will empower patients to take control of all aspects of their disease ... Put differently, if mHealth does not become mainstream health, then many of the innovative approaches of the past decade would be for naught."

For more information:
- read the blog post

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