Five Ways Mobile Technology Improves Care Management
Care management has been around a long time. We’re talking over a century of a long time. And it’s changed a lot throughout the course of its history. But the biggest changes in care management are actually happening right now. That’s because today, mobile technology is completely revamping traditional care management in a way that hundreds of years of clinical innovation never could.
For traditionalists, that might not seem like such a great thing. After all, care management works. Kind of. For example, a study showed that a 6-month group care model for adults with diabetes improved glycemic control, self-efficacy and patient satisfaction—resulting in a reduction in health care utilization after the program.
So why change it? Well, here at Fitbit, we still believe it can be better. Here’s how:
Method #1: Continuity between visits
In the past, care management was purely episodic. Patients had to come into the office, or schedule a phone call, to interact with their care manager. But mobile technology allows for frequent, quick check-ins. We’ve found this approach is effective because patients know their care manager is there for them right when they need it. After all, questions and concerns often only arise after the patient leaves the office. Rather than wait for the next encounter, mobile technology allows patients to get a response right away and act accordingly.
Method #2: Real-time monitoring
It’s not just with outreach that mobile technology has improved. Monitoring and measurement through cell phones open up so many opportunities for care managers to better track and assess their patients’ health. From blood pressure cuffs to continuous heart rate tracking on Fitbit devices with the heart rate feature, with the patient’s consent, care managers can now get a much more holistic view of their patient’s health. As an example, doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital are giving out Fitbit activity trackers to patients after knee/hip replacements and other surgeries to encourage them to start walking short distances, and hopefully, to go home sooner.
Method #3: Actual, factual engagement
“Engagement” metrics have been the tried-and-true measures of wellness program performance for years. But, the definition of “engagement” can be vaguely defined by the organization and not necessarily indicative of long-term success. As the industry moves to value-based, performance-incented care, it’s time to graduate to much more substantial and direct metrics. Fitbit believes that if you can truly engage a patient in their own health, positive outcomes should inevitably follow. And because mobile devices are so ubiquitous and quite literally carried in people’s pockets throughout the day, mobile technology has the potential to help drive engagement better than traditional channels could.
Method #4: Trend and data awareness
Before mobile health, consumers were shielded from their own data. They needed a clinician to decode and explain their own patterns and trends. But now with millions of mobile health apps, patients can start to act as the detectives of their own healthcare. They can start to identify how their behaviors and choices lead to specific clinical results. And with that information alongside the guidance of a care manager? Those patients can start to make the choices that will lead to better results.
Method #5: Optimized patient prioritization
Even if you overlook all the benefits mobile technology offers patients, this type of innovation is hugely helpful for care managers as well. Finally there’s a way for them to escape the data dungeon that is Excel. With a mobile technology solution, like Fitbit, care managers can prioritize their patient panel and outreach to the right person at the right time.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.