mHealth Can Improve Outcomes: Now Patients Are Advocating for Wearable Technology

mHealth Can Improve Outcomes Now Patients Are Advocating for Wearable TechnologyPatients with complex and long-term needs can better engage with their care if they can rely on a health IT infrastructure that is interoperable, open to communication, and proactive, say health IT proponents.

The latest salvo comes from Donna Cryer, a health IT advocate whose liver transplant and subsequent care has underscored the importance of coordination across multiple care settings.

Her story was contained in a recent blog post at HealthIT Buzz by Michael A. White and Simone Myrie. In the post, the authors argue that “patient-generated health data, and the ability of healthcare providers to accept, view, exchange, and use such data to make better treatment decisions, are some of the most crucial pieces of a coordinated and effective care team.”

“The authors hold up Cryer as an example of how patient-generated health data (PGHD) and tenacious patient engagement has helped her manage her ongoing needs, despite several geographical relocations and the necessity of juggling half a dozen specialists or more in different practices and settings,” says the pair in a story at HealthIT Analytics.  “Ensuring that her personal health information was complete and portable was a key factor in navigating these challenges.”

Cryer, of course, pleads her own case, based on her experience.

“All my physicians need to be able to communicate with each other and with me about my care, and to share my complete medical record. Interacting with these physicians generates data from dozens of visits, images, lab tests, and procedure reports that need to be reviewed, evaluated, and acted on in a timely fashion,” Cryer explained. “Widespread use of a truly interoperable electronic health record system with real-time alerts and analytics as well as a patient portal designed with patients and for patients would increase the likelihood that troubling trends can be addressed before they become serious illnesses and expensive hospital stays.”

Cryer cited wearable mHealth devices as a critical component in helping her providers manage her care on a daily basis.

“Using these tools – a wireless scale and bracelet-style activity tracker – my doctors and I have been able to assess intervention effectiveness, adjust dosages, unearth side effects, and clarify decision points,” Cryer said.

Wearable devices may not yet be the norm, but they’re way past novelty at this point. A recent survey from PricewaterhouseCooper indicates that “40 percent of physicians currently monitor patient-generated health data from wearable devices, while 85 percent of those clinicians find it at least somewhat useful for patient care and clinical decision-making.”

Cryer’s story provides an accessible case history of how the new technologies can be pivotal. In the end, it’s all about the data — and the improvements in care that can come from sharing it.

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