The healthcare industry has targeted mobile health as a means to increase care coordination and patient engagement as well as continue the pursuit to lower hospital readmission rates and costly emergency room visits. Mobile health apps present a cost effective approach to medical information as providers shift their patient perspective to that of a consumer.
South Shore Health System (SSHS) in Massachusetts created an app for expectant mothers in the Spring of 2016 where information on pre-natal care, postpartum depression, and each stage of pregnancy can be digested by the user, family included.
The app does not contain any confidential health records and since its free to download soon-to-be mothers and their families can input the due date and learn about the ins and outs of each stage. SSHS leaders also claim that printing costs in the last year alone have been slashed by approximately $10,000 to $15,000.
According mhealthintelligence, former Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky and Physician at Lifecore Recovery Daniel Mongiardo, MD, explained how mobile health apps are successful in reducing hospital readmission rates, saying: “It has to do with adherence. Patients have to do what the physician or the therapist asked them do at home. Many times they forget.”
Mongiardo also mentioned substance abuse victims and the 30-day method, which he says is “just as good as doing nothing,” but added that by monitoring patients through an app and staying connected on a daily basis, the success rate has gone up.
In an interview with Healthcare Informatics, Kim Dever, M.D., SSHS’ chair of obstetrics and gynecology, said, “the biggest [challenge] has been getting the information to the providers so they could share it with their patients; that’s always a challenge. Next challenge, to get patients to sign up for it. And helping providers help get patients signed up. And then there’s the sustainability needs, once you get the initial group going.”
“It was communication, making sure the patients were aware at every contact point in the organization and in the offices, so that we could maximize communication,” added the director of parent/child services for SSHS Faye Weir, Ph.D on challenges in shifting information to a mobile app.
More than 50 percent of new moms at SSHS are opting for the app over paper and the organization is rolling out a new app for patients prepping for bariatric surgery.
Check out Healthcare Informatics for more information on the SSHS’ app,
And visit mhealthintelligence for info on mobile health and its future.