As is often reported, chronic diseases, many based on lifestyle factors, are a major driver of health care spending. One condition which has attracted a great deal of attention is obesity and it is a focus of almost every wellness or disease management effort. Both to keep the cost of the intervention down and to increase patient engagement, many of these efforts have turned to emerging communications technology such as text messages, email, gaming, social networks, remote monitoring and others to assist in the programs. Researchers looked at a variety of these technology-driven programs to ascertain what factors made them successful. (Tele. Article)
The authors categorized the successful techniques being used in the programs into five groups: self-monitoring; counselor feedback; social support; structured interventions and individually tailored programs. They reviewed the use of technology to facilitate each of these techniques in 21 studies. Most of these studies showed positive results and in several cases the use of communications technology was a good or better as the non-technology based programs. This review article supports the view that communications technology can be effectively used to assist in wellness and disease management efforts.