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On Health Websites and “Apps”

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Not Just a Fad – Anymore

By Jennifer Tomasik, Carey Huntington and Fabian Poliak

http://www.CFAR.com

Jennifer Tomasik

Health Information Technology [HIT] may have arrived slowly into clinics and insurance companies, but the pace of innovation and adoption in consumer electronics today is astounding (and accelerating).

Devices are quickly penetrating every facet of our lives in the form of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and beyond. Thousands of health and wellness websites and software applications (“apps”) already exist, and we believe their role in healthcare will be increasingly a central one. Some are crucial elements of health organizations’ programming, such as the online platform that ShapeUp is built on: www.ShapeUp.com

Are they Effective?

Many are stand-alone tools without an organization or programming per se—i.e. apps for counting calories, monitoring glucose levels, or tracking sleep. But are websites and applications effective means of engaging individuals in their own health? And if so, what separates the good ones from the bad ones?

The Data

A 2009 meta-analysis of web-based smoking cessation programs found the pooled quit rate for participants to be 14.8% after follow-up conducted three months out, and 11.7% after six months out. [i] These figures are an improvement over the rate of people attempting to quit without any help or resources, as previously cited.

Internal Studies

From our own study of health websites and applications, we are beginning to see that high-quality digital resources share many of the same characteristics as great products and services do in the physical world. They create pull by engaging users via explicit reward structures. They enable teamwork and foster social accountability. Their content is interactive, informative, and often individualized. Their use is intuitive, convenient (e.g. accessible by web on a laptop or tablet and by smartphone “mobile apps”), and even effortless to the user (e.g. automatically collecting, synchronizing, and analyzing information).

Apps

Fragmentation

The fragmented world of websites and applications is not without its problems.

In today’s “app market,” the void that many websites and applications fill is not necessarily in the best interest of “health consumers,” and the quality of their products or services is often questionable. We see such issues as a reality of any market in its early stages.

Assessment

However, we are optimistic that greater consultation with medical professionals, greater investment and competition among health organizations, and improved regulation can help this new market mature into an indispensable virtual ecosystem of resources for health-seeking individuals.

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Conclusion

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[i] Myung SK, McDonnell DD, Kazinets G, Seo HG, Moskowitz JM. “Effects of Web- and computer-based smoking cessation programs: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Arch Intern Med 2009;169(10):929-37.

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6 Responses

  1. More on Health Apps

    Although there may be over 15,000 mobile health apps out in the market today and the numbers are expected to grow by 25% annually to 2016.

    However, the impact on health outcomes from these mobile health apps are not quite matching its rapid growth. We may tend to blame mobile health apps not being effective because of it being in its early development stages; nevertheless, the developers of these mobile health apps need to understand how to apply patient-centered principles when designing its apps.

    A well designed health mobile apps must link the user interface with the patient experience to create meaningful use for the patients.

    Furthermore, an effective mobile health apps should not cause more time to use than the normal time for the patient to care for their illness; such ease of usability will enable patient to adopt the apps as part of healing regiment.

    Ken Yeung MBA
    Certified Medical Planner™ candidate
    http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

    Like

  2. Should hospitals regulate medical apps?

    http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2014/01/hospitals-regulate-medical-apps.html

    Tell us what you think?

    Ann Miller RN MHA

    Like

  3. Five Novel Health Care Apps

    From, The Disease Management Care Blog, that wonders if 2014 is the tipping point for “health care apps?”

    http://diseasemanagementcareblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/five-novel-health-care-apps.html

    Ann Miller RN MHA

    Like

  4. How consumers use m-Health
    [8 statistics]

    1. 38% of consumers looked up health information online
    2. 27% used their provider’s or insurer’s website
    3. 26% of consumers made appointments, checked lab results or managed prescriptions online
    4. 25% reported using a health app
    5. 22% used a device to track health patterns
    6. 22% of consumers electronically stored health information
    7. 20% electronically communicated with healthcare providers or health insurance professionals
    8. 13% of consumers participated in an online support group

    Source: Becker’s Hospital CIO

    Like

  5. New App For Chronic Issues, Continuous Care

    A Silicon Valley veteran and a former Kaiser Permanente physician are teaming up to bring a new health app to market, one focused on continuous care and chronic issues.

    The app, called Vida, is meant to be the digital equivalent of a weekly visit with a doctor or therapist to address long-term health problems, according to their website and co-founder Stephanie Tilenius.

    http://recode.net/2014/10/28/in-growing-mobile-health-market-new-app-vida-addresses-chronic-issues/

    These longitudinal health issues could range from breast cancer recovery needs to chronic arthritis to marathon training and weight-loss goals.

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

    Like

  6. 75% of Practices Accept Patient Payments Via Web Portals

    BillingTree recently released results from their second annual Healthcare Operations and Technology Survey. Here are some key findings from the report:

    • 50% of providers offer an interactive voice response payment option for patients.
    • Last year, only 7% offered an interactive voice response payment option.
    • 3 in 4 practices currently accept patient responsibility payments via web portals.
    • Last year, 67% of practices accepted patient payments via web portals.
    • 63% of respondents not offering one, plan to implement a patient payment portal.
    • The biggest challenge facing providers were a patient’s inability to pay.

    Source: Billing Tree, February 26, 2018

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