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Medical Physician | Founder & CEO of PDP Health

Health Applications Play A Key Role In Patient Treatment And Rehabilitation

Whenever you have a problem in life, there’s an app for it. So why should healthcare be any different? Healthcare institutions have been working on mobile health applications that would help out with the treatment process. Mobile technology is expected to overcome barriers in order to help patients through the rehabilitation process. Ultimately, this can save lives.

Battling a disease takes a lot of effort. Patients often have trouble getting the motivation to exercise and take other necessary steps to recovery. When integrated with the rehabilitation process, health applications have played a large role in providing this motivation.

A recent Mayo Clinic study showed just how helpful these health apps can be. The researchers of this study looked at two groups of cardiac rehabilitation patients. One groups used a health app and the other did not. The group using the health app lost an average of 9 pounds while the participants not using the app lost an average of 2 pounds. Those using the app exercised on average for 40 more minutes per week than the group that did not use the app. These results showed how the app helped patients to exercise and to lose weight.

The study used an application that was developed with the assistance of Mayo Clinic’s Information Technology department. While the application showed positive results, it is important to remember that there is no one application that works for all rehabilitation patients. Patients should ask their doctors for recommendations regarding which application will be best for them The biggest reason for this variation is that not all health apps measure important things such as heart rate. This information is key in helping physicians to evaluate each patient’s case. For example, if a patient is dizzy, the approach that a doctor would take would vary depending on the heart rate.

Fitness gadgets can also be helpful for more than simply tracking steps and calories. Fitness gadgets aren’t regulated and should not take the place of approved medical devices, but they can be of assistance. There have been instances when fitness apps have helped to diagnose life-threatening health conditions. One example of this is an anonymous 42-year-old man who participated in a recent case study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Medical staff were given access to the man’s phone and were able to look at his Fitbit app to discover an episode of atrial fibrillation. However, instances like this have been rare to date.

Relying on proven technologies is within the patient’s best interest. Health apps are often provided by artificial intelligence companies. One example of this is Watson, a cognitive system developed by IBM. Watson gives people and computers new opportunities to cooperate. In the field of healthcare, this system is used for patient health insight, monitoring physical loads, analysis of data from wearable devices, and monitoring the health of remote patients, to name a few.

Another app has recently been developed for patients with chronic lymphoma. This app helps people with lymphoma track symptoms, follow prescriptions, communicate with their doctors, and receive the most recent information regarding their type of lymphoma. This application has become both a useful monitoring tool and a source of key information. Patients become more engaged when they have instant access to a doctor and are able to stay up-to-date.
These are just the first steps in using apps to help patients battle diseases. The use of health apps in the process of patient treatment and rehabilitation has been extremely helpful to both patients and doctors.