Digital health could save billions
Widespread adoption of digital health applications in five patient populations (diabetes prevention, diabetes, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation, and pulmonary rehabilita-tion) could save the US health system $7 billion a year according to a report published by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science (formerly QuintilesIMS), The Lancet reports.
The report examines the impact of internet-connected mobile devices on human health and describes a doubling of health condition management mobile apps in the past 2 years. Reasonable evidence now exists for some apps, particularly those for symptom management in chronic conditions, such as the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease app, myCOPD, which provides self-management resources shown to improve inhaler technique.
In early October Alex Schneider, the CEO the application and online resource for people living with HIV Life4me+ talked about improving adherence to treatment for people with HIV through electronic systems at St. Petersburg HIV forum «Modern Aspects of Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment». According to available data, the use of digital health applications has a number of positive effects for people living with HIV: it increases the patient’s adherence to treatment and helps to communicate with doctors, which improves the quality of medical care. Monitoring the behavior of 50 new users demonstrated an improvement by 54.8% in their adherence to treatment during first three months. A 33% of long-term users confirmed that the application had increased their adherence.
Barriers to more widespread clinical use include security concerns, lack of interoperability with clinical workflows, uncertainty about legal responsibility, and absence of provider incentivisation. Additionally, the higher rates of smartphone ownership and digital literacy in younger, wealthier populations and the predominance of English language apps have created relative digital disenfranchisement among those with the greatest need, the IQVIA researchers note.
The value of the global mobile health market is forecast to be $25 billion in 2017. Maturing the field of mobile health towards effective clinical interventions requires developers, consumers, policy makers, and physicians to recognise that apps must be assessed like every other clinical intervention. To bring the benefits of mobile technology from the consumer to the health market requires work from all stakeholders to evolve the field and integrate it with mainstream research and clinical practice.