Mobile tech can spur adherence to chronic disease management

Mobile tools, such as text messaging, can help boost adherence in global chronic disease management, which can lead to improved health and more cost-effective care, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The study's authors--who evaluated 107 separate studies on the role of mHealth on chronic disease management for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease--called mobile a potential high-impact tool, but added that more evaluation is needed, specifically regarding how such technology can help overcome barrier in chronic disease management.

For the study, the authors classified mAdherence tools and platforms into four main categories: SMS; phone plus software or application; phone plus specific instrument (medical device connected to phone via a cord); or phone plus wireless or Bluetooth-compatible device. SMS (40.2 percent) was the most commonly used tool and the primary platform.

The next most common tools used were smartphone apps, used in 23.4 percent of the studies.

"The usability, feasibility and acceptability of mHealth tools for chronic disease management adherence were generally high among both patients and providers," the authors said. "There is a clear recognition that mHealth tools have the potential to impact patients who are less inclined to engage traditional health services. mAdherence offers a way to address barriers to care and to reduce health disparities."

As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, text messaging may prove to be a very successful approach in mental health treatment, according to a study by researchers from the School of Computing at Clemson University, School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, and the Centerstone Research Institute in Nashville. Text also is helping patients adhere to prescribed medication, playing a critical role in keeping teen diabetics engaged in healthcare issues and treatment and can boost communication, as well as accountability, among physicians, nurses and medical trainees.

 For more information:
- read the research report

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