17 May 2011

Tapping into smart health

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Healthrageous
Growing numbers of mobile applications are aimed at keeping patients engaged in their treatment. The Boston Globe reports.

“Patient engagement, doctors say, is a crucial factor in health outcomes. Office visits are brief; once you step out into the real world, it’s up to you to take your medicine, exercise, diet, and monitor your symptoms.

It can be hard, tedious work, and many doctors’ orders go unheeded, even in such basic matters as patients filling prescriptions. A recent study of more than 75,000 patients by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mass. General found that 22 percent of prescriptions were never filled over the period of a year. Noncompliance rose to 28 percent on orders for first-time prescriptions, according to the study, published last year in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Use of mobile applications, many medical professionals believe, could make an important difference. Multiple small-scale studies have looked at apps and their impact on patient education, engagement, and compliance, with mostly positive, though not conclusive, findings.”

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