How apps are helping patients to manage medical conditions
October 12, 2017
With the development of new technologies, the way we deliver healthcare is constantly evolving.
One area that is gaining momentum is the push for patients to use devices and apps to manage their own medical conditions.
This new wave of self-care is having a profound impact on patients’ health outcomes, giving them greater control over their wellbeing, while also forging new ways for healthcare professionals to operate and provide care.
In this article, we highlight three apps that are helping patients to manage their medical conditions.
One Drop uses mobile computing and data science to give people with diabetes greater control over their health, and a better understanding of how food, insulin and different activities affect their glucose levels.
“One Drop is designed by people with diabetes for people with diabetes,” One Drop CEO and founder Jeff Dachis said.
Whereas in the past, diabetes sufferers had to manually record their readings or enter them into an app themselves, the One Drop system does it all.
It includes an integrated app that allows users to track and analyse their data, including glucose, medications, food and activities, and even be reminded when to take their medication.
Users draw blood with a lancet device, then a blood glucose monitor automatically sends test results to a smartphone via Bluetooth, where it is “collected” by the app.
The system meets the highest standards of accuracy, providing real-time and historical blood glucose data and analytics.
Users can even sync information from fitness trackers like Apple Watch or Fitbit, allowing them and their healthcare providers to understand the relationship between behaviour and health outcomes.
For those with diabetes-related questions, One Drop offers around-the-clock expert support from certified diabetes educators via the in-app chat function.
Mr Dachis said One Drop was achieving amazing results with users’ A1C readings (a person’s average glucose level over time).
“The improvement in A1C we’ve seen among our users is often achieved with drugs, but rarely, if ever, seen with self-care interventions,” Mr Dachis said.
Managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
myCOPD is an NHS-approved platform that allows patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as emphysema and bronchitis, to better manage their condition via their smartphone or tablet.
The app features plenty of handy self-care tools and tips, including a medication diary, educational resources about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a self-management plan and symptom tracker.
There’s information on everything from how to quit smoking, to pollution forecasts, mindfulness techniques and exercise programs.
The videos on how to use an inhaler correctly have proved to be particularly useful, reducing the need for clinical intervention among users.
myCOPD aims to not only help patients manage their health more independently, but also to reduce their reliance on healthcare providers.
For doctors, it allows them to check-in with their patients remotely, adjust medication as required and keep on top of their patients’ care.
myCOPD is designed to be of use to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at any stage of the condition.
Managing heart conditions
AliveCor’s Kardia Mobile is giving patients with heart problems greater control over their health by providing swift, reliable readings of their heart rhythms.
The personal electrocardiogram (EKG) device allows users to find out whether their heart rhythm is normal, and alerts them to the presence of atrial fibrillation – the leading cause of stroke and heart failure.
The device takes a medical-grade EKG in 30 seconds, and the results are sent to the user’s smartphone.
Users simply put their fingers on the Kardia Mobile pads to find out how their heart is tracking, eliminating the need for patches, gels or wires.
In addition to providing EKG recordings with instant analysis, Kardia Mobile offers summary reports for healthcare providers.
These reports may help healthcare providers to make arrhythmia assessments, diagnose and manage patients with atrial fibrillation, and monitor cardiac risk factors such as weight, activity levels and blood pressure.
“AliveCor’s app-based digital EKG enables patients to conveniently and precisely detect (atrial fibrillation) and to deliver clinical-grade EKGs to their healthcare providers,” AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra said.
Do you know of any useful apps that can help patients to manage a medical condition? Share it in the comments section below.