Study: Mobile personal health records a boon for chronic disease patients

Use of a tethered mobile personal health record system has the ability to spur patient empowerment with regard to treatment and chronic disease management, boost communication between patients and caregivers, reduce medical errors and improve safety, according to research published online this month in Telemedicine and e-Health.

For the study, which took place over an 18-month period (August 2011 to January 2013) at Asan Medical Center (AMC) in Seoul, South Korea, the hospital created a tethered m-PHR application, called My Chart in My Hand. AMC is the country's biggest tertiary hospital, with 2,700 registered inpatient beds.

"This study showed that focus on patients with chronic disease and more hospital visits and empowerment functions in a tethered m-PHR would be helpful to pursue the extensive use," the study's authors, who include David Bates of Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital, say. The use of m-PHR would provide patients access and management of medical information and allow for integration of data from several medical institutions, which is typically necessary in chronic disease management.

"Ideally, patients would control their own medical information by using PHRs, and thus PHRs are regarded as a paradigm shift and the core of patient-oriented health and medical services," the researchers say.

Patient involvement is increasingly being cited as a valuable asset in chronic disease management. A recent Brigham and Women's Hospital study, which also was co-authored by Bates, revealed access to online educational content specific to medical issues and Web-based tools enhanced communication between patients and providers, and can help users gain a deeper understanding of care and boost patient satisfaction. The use of an online patient-centered toolkit also facilitates patient involvement and input into the plan of care.

That's one of many reasons providers are driving new mHealth efforts. A University of Louisiana at Lafayette research team believes it can boost chronic disease management by using health informatics data to spur increased self-care by patients managing diabetes.

"As healthcare systems move from volume-based to value-based reimbursement models, providers are looking for new ways to engage patients as active participants in the management of their care," Scott Sittig, head of the department of Allied Health at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said in an announcement.

For more information:
- read the study (.pdf)