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Background: Estimates suggest at least 70% of the U.S. aging population is prescribed multiple medications due to the rapid increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases. This presents a major challenge for our healthcare system. Most medications require consistent adherence to the prescribed regimen for them to achieve therapeutic effect. Yet it is known that adherence rates remain suboptimal across populations and disease states.
Clinical case: Henry Brown is a 67-year-old American living in the rural Northern California. He is prescribed multiple medications for hypertension, depression, diabetes mellitus type 2, and a recent bacterial infection. Because Henry uses a smartphone, his primary healthcare provider might recommend a mobile app called the Medication Tracker to help him manage his complicated medication regimen. Henry’s primary healthcare provider recognizes apps have the potential to address the specific needs of patients in a manner that is timely, cost-effective, informative, and engaging.
What factors should Henry’s primary healthcare provider consider when selecting an app for him?
What features are most important to facilitate the primary treatment goals of Henry and his primary provider?
How should Henry communicate his activities with the app to his primary provider?
What risks do you think Henry may face when using this app?
You, as a clinician were asked to join a committee who is in charge of developing strategies for working with ePatients, and using social media and patient-generated health data in a regional medical center. Discuss the following questions:
In the interest of public health, shouldn’t all capable patients be expected to monitor their health using accessible tools? What, if any, are the unintended consequences of that expectation?
What are the strengths and challenges of using social media in healthcare?
Is social media a part of patient-centered care? How do social media affect the relationship between patients and their healthcare providers?
What ethical concerns do you have about the sharing of health data online?
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