Care Management is a key area in healthcare that deals with the treatment and care given to patients with conditions or diseases that need continuous monitoring, symptom-based treatment or assistance to deal with episodes of discomfort. Care Management has to be patient-centric and highly responsive. It is also quite a ‘team exercise’ needing patient monitoring, data collection, data analysis and then an appropriate response mechanism. It is often a challenge encountered by caregivers and providers to get access to or keep track of symptoms data or respond to condition-deteriorating situations, or episodes of pain or discomfort, in a timely manner.
Technology can however step in to help with patient-centric mobile apps that help make care management easier and more effective. A primary premise of the functioning of these apps is to periodically gather patient data and transmit it to providers. Patient data may be related to symptoms or more insights into the impact of the care plan on the patient’s QoL and other parameters of significance. This data could be patient reported or could be tracked automatically by the app, if it is data collected by sensors or data housed in a personalized health database. Automatic data collection would require the patient to provide explicit permission and this functionality must be taken care of while building the app.
Data thus gathered can be routed to an analytics platform that the provider has access to that will help them derive insights of significance to feed back into the patient’s care plan. It is important that the organization lays out a clear plan and methodology on how the patent data will be harnessed to improve patient care. A publication1 on Pubmed suggests how a framework tool can be used to guide the development of interventions to improve chronic care management through the use of patient reported outcomes.
Care Management apps can also have additional utility features for patients such as general and emergency communication channels for patients to reach out to caregivers and providers, and patient-friendly dashboards to present trends such as medication compliance vs. symptom relief etc. An interesting add-on for an iOS mobile app would be CareKit integration.
BTC has partnered with universities and research organizations to build cross-platform, hybrid and native apps that help capture patient data with surveys, active tasks and easy-to-use symptom tracker tools and widgets. In line with our patient-centric approach to such apps, is our design team’s sharp focus on UI/UX to ensure it is highly tailored to the target audience using these apps, the lifestyle challenges they have and the typical age groups they belong to. Need-based regulatory compliance support (such as HIPAA compliance or assistance with attaining IRB approval in case of research studies) are also included as a part of the BTC framework offering for such apps.
Apps that complement care management plans are here to stay and we cherish being a part of such visionary healthcare projects that have the potential to make a positive difference in care management practices.