Tag Archives: communication

You are wearing & using health apps but is your care provider using that info?

As you know I follow the mHealth world from the perspective of the patient. Recently I read an article that gave some data on the use of mHealth apps and what the care provider is doing with it. I was genuinely surprised at the statistics. The article  (patient wearable data use) states that while 41% of Americans use the technology only 6% of the care providers were currently using the data from the patient. Working in the healthcare IT field that, as I said, was surprising. While in the field we are starting to use software allowing more patient access to patient’s information it seems we are slow to the start. Another statistic that surprised me was that 29% had no intention of using the data.

A while back, I contributed a blog post that spoke of the use of mHealth data affecting who we choose as care providers – perhaps we want to utilize care providers that are actually using our data and with whom we can see the information from our visits to take more proactive steps in managing our health. Following that train of thought does this mean that the utilization of your data (well, maybe your data) is 94% just not happening?

Another article noted that only 17 percent of consumers perceive health-related industries as being most innovative today. And that “Even in today’s modern world, people think that healthcare innovation will help physicians better treat patients most,” Keith Liu, Klick senior vice president of products and innovation said in a statement. “This suggests that, when it comes to healthcare, people still want a human connection, empathy, and other benefits that can only be obtained through the patient-physician experience.”

So we, as patients, want to see our data, often a constant effort to collect by the patient, and the care providers data and notes but we do still want that care provider to use the information in a face-to-face/human interaction and view that as an optimal care scenario.

Do you use health apps? Does your care provider use your data? And how important are the two factors – use of data and transparency of data and/or human interaction – to you?



The new “drugs” – smartphone apps or patient engagement? or both?

In a recent post I mentioned a quote from Sherry Reynolds:

 “If  # OpenNotes was a new drug that increased patient engagement by 85%,  every doctor in the country would be prescribing it.”

Now I see an article from American Medical News talking about smartphone apps being the new drug. That really caught my attention – mostly because I am trying to use that concept in my graduate class theory paper. But back to the point…We all have kids that can’t put down the phone – the smartphone because they are texting, Facetiming, gaming, or who knows what else. I’m one of those adults that is almost as bad as my child. I am always checking Facebook, checking my WordPress for comments or likes, looking up the closest cupcake bakery, or texting one of my children or Hubby because I’ve forgotten what I was supposed to have been doing while I was doing all of that. Am I addicted to my smartphone? Nahhhh Could I go a day without it completely? Hmmmm, not so sure…..I’ve gotten close while on two cruises. But when you get to shore you can usually see who’s doing what on Facebook that you might have missed. Or even those wonderful work emails that you are truly afraid that someone messed that project up while you were gone. OOYY!!

So you can see where I am going with the familiarity of those people in the US younger than the age of say 55 – no, don’t go all ballistic on me if you are over 55! My dad only knows how to answer and call on his flip phone and my mom is becoming an iPhone guru so people are different! We rely on those smartphones. Sometimes we rely on them to the point of psychically wrong proportions -but that’s another article.

This is the key point I like about this article:

Discussions are taking place in exam rooms across the country about how a $1 app could be a viable alternative to prescribing a medication and help patients monitor their health. Some even have referred to the act of physicians recommending mobile health as “prescribing an app.”

In the traditional sense of prescribing, the phrase is not accurate, said David Collins, senior director of mHIMSS, a subsidiary of the Health Information and Management Systems Society focused on mobile health initiatives. “But in the digital wave of medicine, when it comes to mobile health, I’d say it does make sense. Patients are used to going to their doctor’s office, getting their problem solved and leaving with a prescription in their hands.”

A few things to think about with this theory, from my point of view.

1) are the patients in that group of users that will know how to get the app, download/install it and then use it? If yes, this can be quick – a business card with the name of the app and whether it is available on the Apple platform or the Android.

2)If they can get to the point of using it then do they know how to get the good stuff out of the app? With calorie counter apps it seems to be easier – you program the number of calories per day, track what you eat, see how you do. With apps that are more complicated and linked – usually via bluetooth – then there is a bit more complexity to the use of the app and the information that you get from it. Then how do you share that information at your next visit? Or even before your next visit?

3) The physician – or designated office person – would need to become a person who helped patients go thru this cycle of us. They are going to have questions when they get home. They are going to have questions when they have a weeks’ worth of data in the app and can’t see what they think they should. They will need help. Can a physician office or clinic charge for that service? (my devil’s advocate at work there.)

Overall, this is a great idea. It is moving on the right path to a nation that has been embracing a healthier lifestyle over the last 15 years. Truly, we have. There are still issues with obesity and such but there is a major trend in our population to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles.

These are some great statistics:


59% say mobile health has given them solutions that have replaced some doctor visits.

52% say mobile health will lower health care costs within three years.

49% think it will change the way they manage their overall health.

48% say it will improve health care quality within three years.

48% think it will change the way they manage chronic conditions.

48% say it will change the way they manage medication.

46% believe it will make their health care more convenient within three years.


42% say mobile health will make patients too independent.

27% will encourage patients to use mobile health apps.

13% will discourage patients from using mobile health apps.

Source: “Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth,” PwC, June (pwc.com/en_GX/gx/healthcare/mhealth/assets/pwc-emerging-mhealth-full.pdf)


Do you think you would use an app that your physician recommended ? How much “help” would you expect to need to use it? How much interaction would you expect with the physician/office if you were to use it – more or less?


MappyHealth – is Twitter telling us the picture of our health today?

I happened upon MappyHealth doing research for my public health class and found that it was extremely interesting. It takes tweets and analyzes them to give us a picture of our health.

For instance, this morning I am still suffering from allergies so I thought I would see what is going on in the world of acute respiratory illness (it was one of the listed tags under conditions.) Here is the graph that I saw telling me the volume of tweets. It looks like we’ve had something brewing in mid-October.

from MappyHealth








I even found out what has been going on in Texas over the last week.









Even more interesting is that if you click on a graph from your search you can even get to the tweet level – showing who – by Twitter name – posted and what they posted to put them in that condition group. So here is the one for Texas for STDs! 🙂







Now what do you think of this being out there? Is it helpful or privacy invasive? Were you aware that your Tweets could get you onto MappyHealth?

My first reaction was shock when I saw that it got down to the Twitter name level. But my other voice – who often plays devil’s advocate – said that if I’m going to put something on Twitter that might put me in the category …. well, maybe I should think of that first.

Overall, do I see this as a helpful tool for public health and awareness? Maybe. I’m not too convinced of its validity in the world of true research and statistics. But it is interesting…

What do you think of it? Go try it out and tell me… you have to try it!

More on patient access to clinician notes

It was exciting to see another article on the patient access to clinician notes in their medical records that served as a good followup for the article that I shared with you on October 3rd about this topic. And this one was just what I wanted to know – anybody try it yet and if so how did it work out?

The OpenNotes study (this is the technical post) results led to a post on Group Health Research Institute. They found that doctors’ fears of the impact were more than the actual time impact. One note I think that is important, and am surprised on the admission, is that there was a change

“in the way their notes addressed substance abuse, mental health issues, malignancies and obesity, a smaller minority spent more time preparing their notes, and some commented that they were improved.”

And here are some actual statistics on the study:

Of 5,391 patients who opened at least one note and returned surveys, between 77 and 87 percent reported open notes made them feel more in control of their care, with 60 to 78 percent reporting increased adherence to medications. Only 1 to 8 percent of patients reported worry, confusion, or offense; three out of five felt they should be able to add comments to their doctors’ notes; and 86 percent agreed that availability of notes would influence their choice of providers in the future.

My WOW on these numbers is the 86 percent that said it would affect their choice of provider! That is significant! It is so easy to go to the clinician, tell a short story, be asked leading questions, come out with a prescription that you don’t know what it truly does or how it will help you and then have side effects you don’t know if you are supposed to have or if you need to ask about them. This is common, folks!!

I also like that the 3 out of 5 felt they should be able to add comments to the notes! Heck yeah! I want the record to reflect my own words. Let’s all admit – what we say can be heard differently than what we meant. So confirmation of what the clinician heard is very important. Recently, with a stomach virus the physician offered me a prescription for stomach cramps – though I never complained of stomach cramps. The hospital my father was in noted that he took medication for asthma and he never has.

My question to you is are you interested in those mysterious notes that your clinician writes about you?


AHRQ and the health of Americans: part 2

Yesterday I shared with you the first of a series based on an article in Public Health Newswire where Carolyn Clancy, MD and director of AHRQ answered questions for the community centered around the consumer in health care. What I may not have mentioned yesterday is that some of the answers to the questions inherently involve technology such as internet education, medical device electronic reporting & monitoring and basic access to technologies in everyday use.

The second question asked of Dr. Clancy was:

Q: You spoke at a health literacy conference in September where you said that 75 percent of medical diagnoses are based “on the story, never mind the tests.” What did you mean by that, and why is it so?

Clancy’s response of  “There are a number of studies that confirm that history – the patient’s story – is the most important factor in accurate diagnosis 75 to 80 percent of the time” is one that I agree with whole heartedly. Tests tell facts. Facts make up a scientific picture. And anyone who watches Bones on TV knows that these do not make up the whole of the problem that a patient may present with! Family and social histories play a major role in our health. Genetically we may have probable conditions that will “pop up” as we age – such as my predisposition for familial tremors. I have friends that have been tested for the probability of breast cancer and thus chose to have mastectomy as a preventative measure. These are not easy decisions to make or deal with.

What I am leading to is the reason, the compelling need, for patients to communicate with their clinicians (again it is not only physicians that we as patients talk to) their stories outside of “my stomach has been hurting me” or such symptoms. In turn, the clinicians have a responsibility to pay attention to the stories, listen, and ask questions that may lead to more pertinent information. When we get back to the compassion and humanity in health care we will be much more able to treat the patient as a whole – not as a reactive symptom presenter. And just FYI to the clinicians – making me feel guilty about tests that I haven’t had done and need to is not going to make me run out and do them. Maybe you should ask me why I am resistant? Then you can help me deal with that part of the issue.

What has/have your experience(s) been in communicating with your clinician(s)?

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