Why walking the mHealth walk can be invaluable for providers

One of the most notable benefits of adoption and deployment of technology in healthcare is the opportunity to more deeply engage with patients and foster a proactive attitude toward health and wellness.

Providers have focused on using a variety of tools. For instance, portals have aided interaction with patients outside of the office and exam environment. Additionally, weekly online chat sessions and webinars are cheap and efficient ways to use technology to engage patients.

Mobile devices also increasingly are being used, with some providers even prescribing apps and wearables, such as Fitbits, to patients. But not all patients are tech savvy, and often can be nervous about using such tools. 

To that end, for providers turning to the latter strategy, firsthand knowledge of use would go a long way toward putting patients at ease.

As Mark Burrell, vice president of global user experience practice at Medullan, says in an interview with mHealthIntelligence this week, such a strategy could "help doctors connect the dots between a mobile application and patients' actual scenarios. It will show physicians what the application can help them do as well as what it can't help them do." 

I fully agree. If my doctor is going to ask me to use an app or a wearable device, they should know as much about the device as a user is expected to know, and serve as a device coach.

After all, doctors and nurses are expected to know the side effects and impact of any prescribed medication and inform their patient before they take that medication. Apps and wearables need to be managed the same way.

If care provider prescribes an mHealth tool, but can't help with managing such devices or offer insight and advice on how best to use the tool, it's pretty doubtful the patient will continue use.

And that would be a step in the wrong direction. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)