mHealth for Chronic Diseases in Developing Countries

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Non communicable diseases (heart diseases, strokes, cancers, diabetes, and chronic lung disease) cause an estimated 36 million deaths every year, including 9 million people dying prematurely before the age of 60. mHealth solutions can provide solutions such as improving glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes as well as improving outcomes among patients with obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, mHealth is a cost-effective solution that can improve the quality of care among underserved populations, in turn promoting equity in access to healthcare. For example, research by the Telenor Group showed that mHealth can reduce the costs of medical care among the elderly by 25 percent, double access to physicians by those living in rural areas, and improve chronic disease treatment compliance by 30-70%.

Here are some of the ways mHealth can achieve these results:

Medication Adherence: Only 50% patients with chronic diseases comply with their medication regimen with over 40% reporting intentional non-adherence in just 10 days of therapy. When additional drugs are added into the equation, adherence can be as low as just 10%. In addition to waste of costly drugs, non-adherence leads to more hospital visits, hospitalizations and re-admissions. Provider-patient mis-communication, forgetfulness, unwanted side effects, treatment anxiety have all been listed as reasons for lack of medication adherence. Several apps now exist to remind patients to take appropriate doses of their medication at the correct times, set up appointments and track compliance with medical instructions. Some examples of these apps include MedCoach, DoseCast, Pill-Reminder, On-Cue compliance, HealtheTrax, txtalert etc.

Source: tech pH (link opens in a new window)

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