How effective is mHealth In Treating the Elderly?

With more and more people accessing internet on their mobile devices, mobile health (mHealth) has emerged as a popular sub-segment of eHealth. The term mHealth is being used to refer the practice of medicine and public health supported by smartphones, tablets, phablets and mobile-enabled diagnostic devices. In addition to gathering clinical and community health data from various sources, the mHealth applications further enable the patients, clinicians, researchers and caregivers to access both healthcare information and health related services through their mobile devices. Many organizations, nowadays, invest in mHealth application development to improve and expand healthcare services, while reducing costs of care. A number of reports have also highlighted how mHealth applications can contribute hugely towards treating the elders more effectively.

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Why mHealth Applications are Effective in Treating the Older Adults?

Chronic Disease Management
The cost of healthcare is hugely impacted by chronic diseases. As a person ages, his burden of chronic diseases grows. Further, the prevalence of multiple chronic conditions is much higher among older adults. The multiple chronic conditions also make the health care needs complex and expensive. For instance, an elder must avail effective care immediately to avoid frequent hospitalization, duplicative tests, adverse drug events and conflicting medical advices. The mHealth application will allow the elderly patients to support and manage their personal health efficiently by accessing the required health information and care.

Medication Adherence
Along with facilitating chronic disease management, the mHealth application will further help the older adults to adhere to the relevant medication. As poor medical adherence affects the individuals and community negatively, each patient must adhere to the recommendations made by the healthcare provider. However, the medical adherence of a patient can be affected negatively by a number of factors including understanding the instructions, forgetting to take medication and remembering the medication-taking instructions. The mHealth applications make it easier for the older adults to understand and remember the medication regime. Further, they can receive regular notifications to obtain proper medication information on a regular basis.

Safety Monitoring
Many reports have highlighted that hip fractures, falls and similar injuries contribute hugely towards the death and disability of the older adults. So the mHealth applications come with special features to prevent injuries and promote safety among the elderly people. These features make it easier for the healthcare providers to monitor the patient in terms of his location, balance and gait. As most mobile devices support GPS tracking and accelerometers, the applications use fall detection technology to identify the location and nature of the fall, along with notifying others about the fall by sending alerts.

Access to Health Information
As the mHealth application specifically target mobile devices, it becomes easier for the user to access, share and coordinate his personal health information. In addition to facilitating communication and interaction between the elderly and the healthcare provider, the application further helps the older adult in improving self-management. At the same time, the user can further use the application to access his personal health records (PHRs). So he can constantly track his important health records, along with tracking his healthcare services. Most healthcare providers, nowadays, allow patients to control the PHR and share the information with others. Thus, it becomes easier for the elderly people to share crucial information like allergies, drug interactions and medication along with the narrative of their immunizations and diagnoses.

Facilitate General Wellness
The mHealth applications even contribute towards facilitating general wellness of older adults without any chronic conditions. The general wellness facilitated by the applications, however, can be divided into several categories including nutrition, fitness and overall quality of life. For instance, a user can use the mHealth application to access information related to weight loss, healthy eating, smoking cessation, exercise and yoga. He also has option to use different applications to facilitate fitness nutrition and quality of life. So each older adult can download the application according to his mobile device and operating system, and avail the benefits in a flexible way.

The older adults also have option to choose from a variety of mHealth applications according to their specific healthcare needs. So it becomes easier for a user to avail personalized and prompt care simply by using his mobile device, regardless of his current location.

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