SECOND OPINION

Apps, Technology and the Future of Health Care Management

In your opinion, how will the increasing use of patient apps and do-it-yourself health technologies impact the future of pediatric care and disease management?

4 Responses
Michael V. Severson, MD
January 6, 2016

Parents are increasingly sophisticated in their capacity to inform themselves on the Internet. Our young pediatricians have high expectations that electronic medical records have the capacity to interconnect with their patients, registries, schools and public health departments. And the American Academy of Pediatrics is invested and committed to continued development of resources to meet the needs of families and pediatricians. Remembering that nothing trumps the face-to-face office visit, there is no doubt the future of pediatrics will be full of information technology.

Clinicians can rely on Pediatric Care Online, an app that provides point-of-care access to clinical information. Using it is like having a full medical library in your pocket and a consultant by your side. The Academy also has had great success with HealthyChildren.org, a trusted website that parents use for answers to every aspect of childrearing. Finally, our Bright Futures Visit Planner helps providers track their patients’ well visits and get quick access to industry-standard information for pediatric preventive care, including immunizations, pre-visit questionnaires and patient handouts. These and other innovations are sure to improve the efficiency and collaborative nature of pediatrics by increasing information accessibility and patient-provider communication.

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Manmohan K. Kamboj, MD
January 6, 2016

We are living in the digital era. Our adolescent population thrives on apps for all their needs. Diabetes apps, such as the one built at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, facilitate many disease-specific knowledge and calculation tasks and also provide important diabetes education. Using our tool, patients and families are able to look up carbohydrate contents of many foods, log in blood glucose data, calculate an individualized insulin dose and much more.

The aim of the diabetes app is to increase interest and facilitate self-care in patients with type 1 diabetes. This concept, however, could be applied to many chronic conditions with equal success. I believe these tools will reshape how families manage long-term conditions by making self-care simpler — providing guidance for “sick days,” the ability to track health metrics, reminders for medication or check-ups and much more. Not only will such apps make our jobs easier, they may result in better treatment adherence and will likely improve children’s health outcomes, as well.

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Nirmish Shah, MD
January 6, 2016

The future of patient care apps is moving towards individualized care and improved decision making. An increasing number of families and patients have smartphones and devices to enable the use of patient care apps, which has promoted the development of apps for self-improvement and awareness. It is critical for health care teams to grow with this technology. Collecting data from these apps allows a huge opportunity to offer continued care for patients between patient visits. Importantly, the effort has started to focus on the development of patient-specific recommendations based on individual data.

Our efforts have included the development of a mobile app for patients with sickle cell disease (Sickle cell Mobile Application to Record symptoms via Technology, SMART), which allows symptom management through patient logs, bi-directional communication and algorithms for treatment decisions. As a medical provider caring for patients with chronic diseases, I aim to improve the recognition of unique characteristics of each patient through the use of technology. Patient care apps and do-it-yourself health care technology is the impetus to advance the future of health care towards this goal.

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Katherine J. Deans, MD
January 6, 2016

The use of popular technology mediums, such as interactive apps, has the potential to empower both parents and pediatric patients to take a more active role in their medical care. At the same time, it encourages health care providers to engage families in medical decision making by facilitating shared knowledge and creating alternative ways in which families can communicate with the health care team.

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