Engagement, meaning taking control of your own health, has become everyone’s top priority in healthcare. Defined as empowering and partnering with you in your self care, engagement may be the missing piece of the puzzle to prevent disease and actively manage chronic illness.
In the article, Personalized Strategies to Activate and Empower Patients in Health Care and Reduce Health Disparities, Dr. Chen and colleagues describe why developing personalized strategies to engage and empower patients has become the top priority for providers, payers, manufacturers and policy makers.
Patient engagement in health care has been considered as a ‘blockbuster drug of the century’ (Kish, 2012), with the potential to achieve the ‘triple aim’ of improved health outcomes, better patient care, and lower costs (Berwick, Nolan, & Whittington, 2008).
Innovations in mobile apps offer new and diverse ways to add value to products, and most importantly, improve drug and/or device therapy compliance.
In an article from MedCity News, Stephanie Baum reports that companies are turning their attention to digital health as a means to empower patients to take better control of their behavior and subsequently improve health outcomes. As she explains, this is part of pharmaceutical companies beyond the pill trend:
The apps are frequently designed to improve health literacy and motivate patients to take their medication to improve adherence, especially around chronic conditions. In addition to helping people better manage their conditions, the big goal is taking a slice of the $290 billion medication non adherence costs… Patients that get sicker from not taking their drugs as prescribed just add more costs onto the system.
Patient Empowerment – #1 Trend in Pharmaceutical Marketing
As pharma companies continue to explore ways to engage patients in their own care, behavior-change apps provide a method to keep them educated, motivated and on course. In the post Top 7 Trends in Pharma Marketing for 2015, Blue Latitude reports:
For patient empowerment, the technological capability of a solution doesn’t determine adoption, engagement and retention, the patient has control over that, which is why they need to be motivated to change.
Behavior change through patient empowerment is no mean feat. It will require a patient centric, multi-channel approach that brings healthcare professionals, patients, careers, relatives and payers all together…
We expect the next wave of digital health tools developed in 2015, and beyond, will rectify the current unmet patient needs and focus on the content to be received and the context in which it is to be provided to ensure that the need is met.
Taking medications exactly when a patient needs them is vital, but sometimes patients forget.
Improving adherence to prescribed medical treatments remains an almost universally agreed-upon challenge in health care. ..Improving treatment adherence through both private and public interventions has been identified as a crucial step toward improving health outcomes and lowering health care costs.
Patient engagement aims to motivate and empower.
Given the importance of patient engagement, it’s no wonder that pharmaceutical and medical device companies have moved quickly to produce apps and programs that motivate and empower patients to take control of their health.
Mobile apps that are focused on behavior change offer a wide range of capabilities, including but not limited to:
- Custom goal and objective setting and management.
- Reminders with alarms critical for treatment adherence.
- Text, email, photo/video sharing for communicating with providers, family and friends.
- Social media connectivity for support or continued motivation.
Patient engagements apps can play a vital role in successfully keeping patients motivated and mindful of their goals 24/7 so they can remain healthy and avoid preventable conditions.
The next time you notice someone is trying to engage you to take better care of yourself, don’t resist. Be open to change! Be willing to try an app like CraveMate, that can help you do what is difficult to do alone — staying motivated to make your health and wellness a priority.