At last week’s mHealth Summit held at the Gaylord National Resort, the director of Partners HealthCare’s Center for Connected health, Joseph Kveder, questioned whether or not 2015 would be the breakout year for digital health. Kveder is certainly still a proponent of the beneficial differences mHealth can make for patients and healthcare providers, but he brings ups few issues that must be overcome before digital heath care and patient engagement with mHealth apps is fully embraced.
With recent advances like Apple’s coming-soon smart-watch and Google Fit, Kveder reasoned that users must want to engage with these technologies and they must be easier to engage with–or mHealth and its benefits will risk being passed over as just another tech bubble.
What is most critical in making sure these technologies really begin to help patients is to ensure that full engagement actually modifies behaviors. Whether wearing a habit-tracking smart watch, or logging daily food intake and exercise, consumers must be able to see the benefits of electronic health technologies, and health professionals must stand behind these advancements and promote their benefits to patients.
While consumer engagement is relatively low at this point, both physicians and patients are interested in the prescriptive nature of mobile health apps. A recent study found that 89% of physicians would prescribe an app to patients and 44% of patients said they would use an app if it were prescribed by a physician. As physicians and consumers both become more familiar with mHealth functionality and see measurable results, engagement from both parties is sure to rise.