mHealth, short for mobile health, is a term that describes the use of mobile phones and other wireless devices in healthcare. Mobile phones have become a necessity for just about everything from making calls to booking movie tickets, making hotel reservations, and banking. In light of this, it didn’t take long for mobile health applications to become mainstream. In fact, a report by Statista estimates that the global value of the market for mobile health solutions will grow to approximately $250 billion by 2025.
One of the most promising applications of mHealth is in managing chronic diseases. These conditions have no definite cure and require extensive care over a long period of time. In other words, they can only be managed. The use of healthcare mobile solutions has enabled patients suffering from chronic diseases to manage their conditions better and lead healthier lives. Let’s explore all the ways in which using mobile solutions for healthcare helps to manage chronic diseases effectively.
Benefits of mHealth in Chronic Disease Management
Managing chronic diseases is more than mere tests and treating symptoms. It is an effort to alleviate the symptoms and inhibiting the progression of the disease. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability, and mortality in the United States. They constitute a major chunk of the country’s $4 trillion in healthcare costs. But the use of healthcare mobile solutions has shown to help manage these diseases better while lowering the costs. They help in the following ways:
- Tracking Symptoms
Patients can enter vital signs like fever, glucose levels, hunger, quality of sleep, and fatigue (among others) into a mobile healthcare solution. These are then shared with providers who can view the symptoms and identify patterns in their fluctuation, which could indicate the progression of a disease. If the vital signs deviate from established norms, the providers could schedule appointments to see the patients in-person for further examinations.
Medical applications enable people with chronic conditions to manage their well-being remotely. By sharing their symptoms regularly, they can stay in touch with their providers and lead healthy independent lives. Furthermore, the lack of need for constant appointments and follow-ups helps to lower the cost of care.
- Adherence to Medications
A lack of strict adherence to medications is one of the main reasons for the worsening of chronic diseases. Mobile health applications with features for reminders can notify users when it is time to take their medications. Moreover, these applications can also remind patients about the dosage and the time for refills. Users need to enter their prescription information into the application and set reminders as per their physician’s instructions. Timely reminders enable patients to adhere to their medication routines and prevent further worsening of existing conditions.
- Telehealth and Virtual Consultations
This is one of the biggest advantages of using mobile solutions for healthcare software development to manage chronic diseases. Patients can connect with their doctors through video or text-based chat for consultations. This prevents the need for travelling to a clinic or hospital in-person to see a doctor. The ability to connect with providers from the comfort of their homes is extremely beneficial for patients living in remote locations or having mobility problems.
- Diet Tracking
A healthy diet is key to managing chronic conditions. People suffering from diabetes, obesity, or heart conditions must be vigilant of their nutrition and calories. Mobile health solutions enable users to enter the information about every meal to find out the nutritional value and the amount of calories consumed. This type of tracking lets users be aware of what they eat and plan their meals accordingly. Diet is integral to wellness and mHealth applications for diet tracking facilitate effective chronic disease management.
- Activity Trackers
The amount of physical activity is known to determine health and wellness. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked with an increase in the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. Healthcare mobile solutions with wearable trackers can monitor the number of steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, and others. This helps users plan their day and devote enough time for physical activities, which is vital for managing chronic diseases.
Many kinds of mHealth applications provide educational content about chronic diseases. Patients can use these applications to know more about their conditions, causes, symptoms, treatments, and so on. This encourages them to take their own treatment more seriously and stay informed about managing their lifestyles.
About 60% of the adults in the United States suffer from at least one chronic disease. The growing cost of care is making it increasingly difficult for Americans to access the treatments they need. In light of this crisis, mHealth applications have become an effective tool for managing chronic conditions. By allowing people to access medical services from their homes, mobile health solutions have proven their effectiveness in addressing the twin challenges of access to care and its cost.