Chronic diseases are a global epidemic. Three out of five Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one chronic disease and many others are at risk of developing one. Caring for this group poses a heavy burden not only on caregivers, but also on the patient themselves. Many organizations who care for patients with chronic diseases have implemented technologies that make it easier for everyone involved. Mobile apps can be used for various purposes. The entire care team can connect in one place which fosters better communication and information sharing. Some platforms can be integrated with home health devices that the patient can use to monitor their conditions. They can share this information with their care team in real-time. The ability to monitor a patient’s condition remotely means that care providers can track their health and intervene when necessary. When an intervention takes place before the condition has the chance to get worse, it can avoid an emergency room visit or a trip to the doctors office. In this blog, we will be highlighting four posts explaining the various benefits an organization can have from using a mobile app for chronic disease management.

Integrations with home health monitoring devices

As mentioned previously, some apps allow for health monitoring through bluetooth devices. This post details the impact that encouraging your patients to use these devices for monitoring their chronic conditions can have. aTouchAway by Aetonix is a platform that supports real-time updates using various home health monitoring devices. These consist of a step counter, a fall detection/wandering bracelet, a pulse oximeter, a weight scale, a blood glucose meter, and a blood pressure monitor. They are easy to set up and use from the comfort of the patient’s home. When they patient has used any of these devices to monitor themselves, their results will be available to whoever has been permitted to view them. Care providers also find it especially helpful when the results can be represented in a graph or chart format. This makes it easy to spot any sudden changes in the pattern and make changes to routines/prescriptions if necessary.

Ability to observe trends and intervene

This post features an interview we conducted with one of our clients. Laura Schauer, a registered nurse with the Thamesview Family Health Team, sat down with us to share her experiences with using a mobile app for her patient’s chronic disease management. One story she told us particularly stood out. Laura explains that she has a patient with congestive heart failure who uses a weight scale and blood pressure monitor at home to share their results with her daily through aTouchAway. She noticed this patient suddenly had very low blood pressure readings. When she called the patient to discuss, they reported they had been feeling dizzy. Based off this information, Laura was able to discuss with the patient’s physician and agree on giving them a lower dose of their blood pressure medication. The physician was able to remotely adjust the patient’s prescription and the patient was feeling back to normal two weeks later. This is just one of many examples where healthcare practitioners are able to observe their patient’s health information through an app and take action.

Care Plan Sharing

Care plans are essential for patients with multiple chronic illnesses. They provide individualized guidance for the patient and their care team. This post details how digital accessibility to a patient’s care plan can improve the way their team provides care to them. When the whole team is kept up-to-date and informed of progress in one place, it is much easier to stay on track with the patient’s goals. Getting the patient set up on a mobile app along with the rest of their care team will help to ensure that the patient is kept at the centre of their care.

Reducing Hospital Readmissions

It’s no secret that hospital readmissions are part of what is so costly to our healthcare system. Especially when they are avoidable or unnecessary. This post looks at how using a mobile app helps to reduce these hospital visits. Patients who deal with a condition like COPD may be likely to go straight to the emergency room when they’re experiencing breathlessness. This is not always the right call, especially when there are other options available. Patients like these may take comfort in being set up on an app that connects them to their family and professional caregivers. If they are having trouble breathing, they are able to call someone close to them who can get a visual representation of how they’re doing and coach them on next steps.

If you or your organization are considering using a mobile app for your patient’s chronic disease management, we hope these posts will help give you further insight into the benefits it can offer you. Please feel free to look at our blog page for more articles on caregiving for patients with chronic conditions.