A growing number of patient population groups are using mobile health apps and self-monitoring technology (which include interactive tablets and smartphone applications,such as the Clear Arch Mobile self-monitoring app).
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, accessing care through web portals and mobile apps (or mHealth) was essential for patients to avoid health risks from face-to-face medical consults. Telehealth enabled virtual checkups, remote monitoring, electronic prescriptions, mental health counseling and more.
As of this writing, there are 350,000+ mobile health apps available in the United States. Most are designed for self-use ( i.e., fitness goals) whereas other health apps help users manage chronic conditions with clinical oversight. These health conditions include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart disease.
Let’s explore this trend in the use of mobile applications for patient self-monitoring and its potential to improve population health.
Growing Use of Mobile Health Apps
Mobile health applications can expand access to health services for many who may otherwise experience obstacles to healthcare. Telehealth, mHealth, and similar forms of technology-driven healthcare enables patients to obtain care services outside of clinical environments.In this way, mHealth may mitigate physical, socioeconomic and/or geographical barriers to receiving healthcare, thus improving health equity.
When used with Blue-Tooth enabled peripheral devices (such as blood pressure cuffs and monitors, oximeters, weight scales, glucose meters, etc.), mobile apps allow users to record, and/or track their vital signs for transmission to a care provider for further assessment.
An estimated 80% to 85% of U.S. adults in their 50s, 60s and older
currently use smartphones. With more people using mobile applications,
Older adults are becoming more comfortable with smartphones and mobile health apps. They welcome the convenience it affords to manage chronic conditions and self-monitor their health from anywhere, and at any time.
According to research, adults over the age of 50 routinely use health apps to:
- track activity, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, weight, medication use, etc.
- obtain general health information for personal knowledge
- share health status information with their healthcare providers
Care providers also derive benefit from mobile health apps use. Telehealth/mHealth technology helps to alleviate physician shortage challenges and streamline workflow by automating data collection. M-health gives providers easier access to patient information so they may offer guidance, care intervention, and/or adjustments to treatment plans.
The degree to which mhealth facilitates efficient healthcare for seniors has yet to be fully appreciated.
M-Health Applications Use Case: Hypertension
Mobile health apps have shown promise in assisting self-management of hypertension/ high blood pressure, especially in cases of uncontrolled hypertension.
Research suggests that lack of medication adherence is a major factor in uncontrolled hypertension. Some adults fail to take their medication because they either forgetor don't follow instructions. Among patients with “medication-resistant” hypertension, it is reported that more than half are not taking their medication as prescribed.
Remote patient monitoring via a mobile health app strengthens
the ability of care providers to intervene as needed with options to
pre-schedule vital signs readings and engage in two-way communications.
Mobile health apps that are interactive, enable text messaging and/or video communication, can help to address medication non-adherence. Providers can push medication reminders, schedule blood pressure/ biometric readings, and motivate patients to comply with treatment.
When implemented as part of an overall post-acute hypertension care plan, mobile health apps may contribute to:
- Improved patient/provider communication through consistent health monitoring
- Reduced statistically high hospital readmission rates, with successful recovery at home
- Enhanced patient engagement, medication adherence and treatment compliance
- Informed care coordinators who can promptly intervene, if needed
Blood pressure monitoring is one of the clinical use cases for the Clear Arch Mobile app which keeps patients involved in their daily healthcare. Through Blue-Tooth paired BP monitors, patients transmit collected measurement data, and engage in 2-way communication with their healthcare team.
Clear Arch Mobile is an evolving “bring your own device” (BYOD) mobile health application. Clear Arch Health is in the process of expanding the clinical use cases for the app that will further enhance the ability of patients to (a) manage health condition(s), (b) transmit health information as scheduled, (c) comply with treatment and (d) adhere to lifestyle changes.
The U.S. population is aging. An estimated 80% of adults over 65 live with at least one chronic condition. This means an increasing number of adults will find themselves managing long-term health issues. Advances in healthcare technology offer opportunities for older adults to receive healthcare guidance from almost any location, and at any time.
The convenience and ease of use offered by mobile health apps can encourage positive and healthier behaviors to help patients to live better, enjoy improved outcomes, and enhance their quality of life for years to come.
For more, visit Clear Arch Health here.
About Clear Arch Health
Clear Arch Health® (a division of MobileHelp® and part of Advocate Health Enterprises)is a global leader in virtual healthcare technologies and remote patient monitoring programs which empowers care providers with meaningful health data to remotely monitor patientswith chronic diseases and manage acute health conditions. Clear Arch Health enables care organizations to enhance the patient experience, minimize cost, reduce hospital readmissions, achieve provider satisfaction and improve outcomes. www.cleararchhealth.com
de Oliveira-Filho AD, Costa FA, Neves SJ, de Lyra Junior DP, Morisky DE. Pseudoresistant hypertension due to poor medication adherence. Int J Cardiol. 2014;172(2):e309-e310.
Lee P, Aikens J, Richardson C, Singer D, Kullgren J, Kirch M, Solway E, Smith E, Malani P. Mobile Health App Use Among Older Adults. University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging. February 2022. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.7302/4019
National Council on Aging “The Top 10 Most Common Chronic Conditions in Older Adults. April 2021. https://www.ncoa.org/article/the-top-10-most-common-chronic-conditions-in-older-adults
Zippia. "20 Vital Smartphone Usage Statistics : Facts, Data, and Trends On Mobile Use In The U.S." Zippia.com. Oct. 20, 2022, https://www.zippia.com/advice/smartphone-usage-statistics/