Mobile health and the patient paradox
This just in: mHealth is big, and getting bigger.
Okay, that may not be news to anyone. Nor is it that much of a surprise that, while consumers are flocking to mobile health devices, the healthcare community has generally kept its distance.
But that's beginning to change. Providers are starting to see value in connecting with patients outside the walls of the health system. And they're starting to get paid for it, too, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services unveiling a CPT code that rewards docs for home-monitoring.
Joseph Kvedar, MD, founder of Partners HealthCare Center for Connected Health, said the gap between doctors and patients is starting to close. Providers are taking notice of what they can accomplish with digital health tools, and they're looking at ways to use mHealth to affect population health management.
Kvedar and Robert Havasy, executive director of Continua and vice president of the Personal Connected Health Alliance, will share their take on connected health in a HIMSS15 session.
A key issue in the so-called "exuberance" of wearables is the fact that those consumers fueling the exuberance aren't the ones healthcare providers want to reach. They're the self-motivated; the rest of the population, however, might be interested enough to buy a FitBit or smartwatch, but will likely toss it into a dresser drawer within a month and forget all about it.
So device makers have to find a way to keep those consumers interested. And providers have to find a means to keep patients interested in their health.
Kvedar calls it a paradox: People will jump on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or some other social media channel to divulge their innermost secrets, but they won't talk about their health with their doctor. It's just not something they're excited about.
"The psychology around health is so complicated," he said. "But that's the way we're wired."
Kvedar said that providers have to adopt a recipe for better design of mHealth tools and programs. That includes developing technologies that integrate with a user's daily lifestyle, offering feedback and motivation, and producing data that can be used by both consumers and providers to improve outcomes.
"People are starting to get more comfortable with this," he said.
The session "Mobile, Digital and Connected Health: A Status Update," takes place from 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in Room S103.