Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Shaw: Primary care delivery revolves around a series of episodes, rather than functioning as a continuum. When patients come to a clinic data on their health is collected as a single data point. This model neglects potentially meaningful data from patients’ daily lives and results in less informed treatment and scheduling of follow-up visits. Lack of meaningful data further blinds clinicians to patients’ health outside of the clinic and can contribute to unnecessary emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
Personalized care through mobile health technologies inspires the transition from isolated snapshots based on serial visits to real time and trended data. By using technologies from cell phones to wearable sensors, providers have the ability to monitor patients and families outside of the traditional office visit.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Shaw: As mobile technologies and access to the Internet become universal, healthcare systems and private practices will leverage capabilities that allow the transfer of data on a daily and hourly basis. This has the potential to catapult the personalized or precision medicine movement forward. By gathering real-time data from patients in their homes and work sites, additional insight can be gained into what day-to-day health actually looks like. Although “snapshot” clinic visits will still be important, the ability to see a real-time trend of patients’ blood glucose or blood pressure level will change chronic disease management.
There are still challenges regarding data validity, collection, privacy, presentation, and overflow that will need to be addressed though. However, technology, innovation, and the need to rethink chronic disease management and decrease healthcare costs will drive solutions to these problems.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Shaw: With the recent announcement of Meaningful Use Stage 3, CMS reimbursement will in part soon be tied to leveraging these new mobile technologies and their data. Thus, future research will need to focus on how to integrate models of care delivery capable of deciphering meaningful information from patients’ mobile health devices, to enable physician to deliver true personalized medicine– the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ryan Jeffrey Shaw, PhD, MS, RN (2015). Mobile Health Technologies Will Change Chronic Disease Management