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Actions speak louder than words: How mHealth is moving beyond patient engagement and improving patient care

October 1st, 2015

by Jenn Riggle

My mom always told me actions speak louder than words. The same is true with mobile health (mHealth). While health and fitness apps are helping people track the number of steps they take, mHealth’s real promise lies in its ability to provide people with tools to share their health information with their doctors and take a more active role in managing their health.

Increasing awareness about the dangers of living a sedentary lifestyle has helped drive the growing interest in health and fitness apps. Today, there are nearly 165,000 health apps available on iOS and Android, and one-third of U.S. smartphone users (46 million people) have used fitness and health apps, according to research from Nielsen.

The question is: How useful are these apps? A recent study from research firm IMS Health reported that only 36 apps represent nearly 50 percent of all downloads. In addition, of the thousands of health apps available, only 10 percent were designed to link to a medical device or sensor and 2 percent can connect to electronic health records or other IT systems used by providers.

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How providers can use mHealth to reach millennials (and Gen Xers)

May 14th, 2015

by Jenn Riggle

There is a lot of excitement about how mobile health (mHealth) can transform healthcare and improve the patient-clinician relationship. And while there may be some concerns about sharing mHealth data and the fact that hospital IT systems may not be ready to analyze all of this information, mHealth provides an important way to reach tech-savvy millennials (and their older counterparts, Gen X).

A recent PNC Healthcare survey showed that millennials have limited interactions with their primary care physicians (PCP), and are less likely (61 percent) to visit their PCP than baby boomers (80 percent) or seniors (85 percent). Convenience is paramount to millennials, who are twice as likely to visit retail clinics and acute care clinics than other generations. For a busy professional or working parent, it's great to be able to be seen by a clinician on your lunch hour or on the weekend without having to book an appointment.

Even though millennials have difficulty finding the time to see a doctor, most are willing to use digital and mobile technology to engage with their physicians. According to Salesforce's recently released 2015 State of the Connected Patient report, more than half (60 percent) would be interested in having video chats with their physician rather than participating an in-office visit. In addition, 71 percent would be interested in having their PCP give them a mobile app to help them manage preventive care, review health records and schedule appointments.

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7 digital resolutions for hospitals

January 7th, 2015

by Jenn Riggle

It's the beginning of 2015 and time for people to take a closer look at their lives and make resolutions for the coming year. It's also a good time for hospitals to take another look at their social media and digital initiatives and determine what's working and what's not.

The good news is that U.S. hospitals have embraced social media. In fact, 99.41 percent of the 3,371 U.S. hospitals have ongoing social media initiatives, according to a recent report from the Journal of Medical Internet Research. But are they using the right channels and achieving the results they want?
Here are some social media resolutions for hospital marketers for the coming year:

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Big data: The Godzilla of healthcare

August 7th, 2014

by Jenn Riggle

If you grew up watching Creature Double Feature movies, you know that Godzilla is a giant dinosaur-like monster that destroys Japan (and most recently San Francisco), and battles other monstrous creatures like Mothra and Destoroyah. In the early movies, Godzilla was the villain, but in the later movies he became a giant, albeit destructive, anti-hero. By the same token, big data can be a hero and save the day, or it can be a big, scary monster.

In its most basic form, big data is digital health information that comes from a variety of sources, including electronic health records, clinical trials, insurance claims, mobile apps like Fitbit and social media, where people post information about their health issues.

The power of big data is indisputable, but is it a force for good or evil?

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Hospitals can't afford to ignore mHealth

May 14th, 2014

by Jenn Riggle

Most of us are familiar with mobile health apps like Fitbit, Jawbone and MyFitnessPal, which help people track their activity levels and count calories. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Faced with stiff penalties for unnecessary readmissions, hospitals turn to mHealth and remote patient monitoring devices to track cardiac rhythms, glucose levels and vital signs, and identify health issues early to prevent expensive repeat trips to the hospital.

Yet, according to a recent survey, 62.5 percent of hospital CIOs report that their hospitals haven't implemented a remote monitoring system. Why? Because hospitals juggle the upgrade to Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria with ICD-10 compliance (which was just delayed until October 2015). As a result, mHealth becomes a "nice to have" versus a "must have."

However, hospitals need to change the way they view mHealth. Here's why:

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