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Use of Mobile Health Tools for Chronic Illness

By October 21, 2009November 2nd, 2009Commentary

The California HealthCare Foundation was formed in the conversion of what is now the California WellPoint plan from non-profit to for-profit status in the 1990s.  The Foundation has enormous assets and has produced signigicant research on a number of health care topics.  It recently released a report on the use of online and mobile tools to assist in managing chronic diseases.  (CHCF Report) This report is a somewhat superficial survey of emerging technologies to assist patients and providers jointly control the non-acute stages of chronic diseases.  A number of specific applications for biometric tracking, medication adherence, wellness coaching and other functions are discussed.  The study notes that to have significant value, an entire system which provides continuous monitoring and feedback links between patient and provider needs to be established.  The report further notes the multiple barriers which currently limit widespread adoption of these technologies, including reimbursement challenges; lack of interest on the part of many providers and patients, which necessitates development of incentives for participation; and regulatory hindrances.  The paper is a useful overview of emerging technologies which could improve the quality of care for chronic illness sufferers.

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