Hospital-Designed Apps Aim To Help Patients Manage Their Care

happsHospitals are developing mobile applications that doctors can prescribe to help patients manage their care, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Compared with health apps that consumers download independently, the hospital-developed apps are more likely to become part of patients’ daily routines because of they are prescribed and used under medical supervision, researchers say.

Overview of Apps

According to the Journal, hospital-developed apps can:

  • Alert providers to problems before they develop into larger issues; and
  • Send instructions, messages and reminders to patients.

Such apps are designed to target particular issues, such as management of cancer-related pain and surgery recovery, according to the Journal. For example:

  • The Breast Cancer Ally app, developed by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System, allows patients to monitor side effects after they leave the hospital or doctor’s office and provides recommendations for managing side effects and when to contact a provider; and
  • ePal, developed by a team at Massachusetts General Hospital, helps patients adhere to medication regimens to treat cancer pain and manage side effects of such medication.

Meanwhile, researchers at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto are investigating whether a mobile app for breast reconstruction patients can lower the need for patients to see a physician within 30 days after the procedure, the period when complications and readmissions risks are highest. A pilot study found that the app:

  • Had high patient satisfaction scores;
  • Lowered in-person visits; and
  • Was cost effective (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 11/9).

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