How Telehealth Has Expanded to Mobile to Increase Patient Engagement

telehealth mobile patient engagementWe’ve all been there. It’s 7 a.m. on Monday and as you reach for your medication, you have a moment of panic when you realize that you forgot to pick up your refill at the pharmacy yesterday. For some of us, this is just a temporary inconvenience, but for people with chronic conditions, this costly mistake can be critical. If only you had the ability to subscribe to a monthly text reminder to send you alerts when you need to refill your prescription.

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Fortunately, as the healthcare industry adopts technological advancements to focus on increasing patient engagement — namely telehealth — receiving reminders and updates from providers and pharmacies through text messaging and email alerts is becoming a common practice.

The rise of telehealth — the ability to provide remote healthcare services through the assistance of technology — is quickly transforming the way we experience healthcare, creating opportunities to further increase patient engagement. The shift to digital healthcare is continuing at a rapid pace, and telehealth is expanding to include mobile devices.

Tracking Your Health

With Americans spending an average of 4.7 hours a day on their cellphones, mobile-friendly communications have never been more effective for encouraging patients to take stock of their own healthcare. Mobile apps such as Fitbit® Fitness Tracker and MyFitnessPal® have soared in popularity in recent years, allowing people to monitor their health through diet and fitness tracking.

Taking note of this trend, the healthcare industry has started implementing mobile apps to track and manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure. These blood pressure apps allow you to record your medications, diet and weight so you can track and even graph your blood pressure statistics and conveniently email them to your healthcare provider. Apps for chronic care management are predicted to be the fastest-growing segment of healthcare apps through 2020, which will only continue to increase patient engagement.

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For some patients with chronic health conditions, tracking medical prescription dosage amounts and frequencies can be confusing and time-consuming, resulting in missed doses or ineffective treatments. The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine recently reported that by texting patients, medication adherence for chronic disease patients can increase from 50 percent to 67.8 percent. Through mobile telehealth services, patients can receive alerts and reminders to take prescribed medications at the correct time and in the correct amounts.

User-friendly Adoption

Mobile telehealth services are user-friendly applications and allow for real-time information, interaction and communication between patients and providers. As healthcare facilities implement and adopt secure cloud-based communication systems, patients have the ability to communicate with providers via secure video chat, instant messaging, email and SMS through any device, anywhere and at any time.

Despite the assumption that only millennials feel comfortable with online technology, older generations are also adopting healthcare services through online cloud-based portals to monitor their health in between visits. As reported in Harvard Business Review, “Patients in their 60s register for portal accounts at the same rate as those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and patients between 70 and 79 use portals at roughly the same rate as twenty-somethings.”

Mobile technology also increases engagement between the patient and healthcare provider. With so many of us running around with busy schedules, it’s hard to commit to making frequent doctor’s appointments as often as we’d like. As telehealth expands to mobile services, scheduling appointments and checking in with your healthcare provider through video chat is easier and more convenient than ever, strengthening both patient and provider engagement.

With telehealth expanding to mobile technologies, receiving quality healthcare has never been more accessible, putting the patient back at the center of healthcare.

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