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mHealth solutions can improve health outcomes

mHealth solutions can improve health outcomes

mHealth can improve health outcomes in a cost-efficient way, which is especially relevant due to the current financial state of mental healthcare. Nowadays, due to budget constraints and a shortage of qualified personnel, healthcare providers are looking for new ways to reduce administrative processes and improve productivity, with the objective of enabling clinicians to spend more time on patient care rather than processing paperwork. With this in mind, organisations are looking into migrating from paper-based to paperless systems.

Mobile data capturing solutions are beneficial for healthcare professionals and patients alike. Since they improve workflow, these tools enable clinicians to spend more time seeing patients.

MHealth can improves health outcomes by enabling healthcare professionals to save time by allowing them to access patient information more efficiently, ensuring patients receive better care, wherever they are, even if their primary clinician is not available.

Furthermore, communities are looking to form multi-sector collaborations that support their ability to better understand and tackle the social determinants of health. There is a growing need to build capacity beyond the healthcare sector and to find new ways to integrate data from multiple areas with the objective of improving community health.

Providing coordinated care

For people with complex health issues, such as those with a severe mental illness, the coordination of medical and community services can significantly improve their quality of life.

These individuals often require the most costly treatment and care, therefore many communities are aiming to link the available data between social services and clinical services to provide a more comprehensive care.

Using aggregated data to improve community health

Linking aggregated data from different sources may reveal information about a particular population group, enabling healthcare providers to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the health factors in a specific community. Measuring health at a more detailed level allows decision-makers from the public healthcare system to recognise differences, plan more effective interventions, and monitor a particular group over time.

Re-using health-related research data to drive healthcare initiatives

Academic institutions and non-profit organisations continuously conduct research on specific patient-groups. Since these organisations collect and analyse health-and-behavioural-related data on vulnerable populations, this data could be re-used to address related issues and to drive new healthcare initiatives and policies.

In addition to these points, data encryption ensures that all patient information is kept strictly private and protected at all times. International laws require that every organisation accessing patient information should adhere to strict confidentiality conditions.

Interested in using mHealth technology but don’t know how to start?

Interested in using mHealth technology but don’t know how to start?

On a previous blog post, we established that patients value mHealth technology; therefore, the sooner healthcare providers embrace this technology, the better.

Fortunately, mHealth technology does not only offer benefits for patients, it also solves many of today’s healthcare challenges, since it provides public and private healthcare providers the scalability to treat more patients with fewer resources.

Nevertheless, in spite of the clear benefits, most healthcare providers, have not yet fully adopted mHealth technology due to several reasons:

  • Lack of budget
  • Lack of awareness of the benefits of using the technology
  • Feeling overwhelmed on the increasing amount of health apps available
  • Fear of the amount of time needed to learn to use the new technology
  • Strong belief that patients’ lack of the necessary knowledge to use the technology

Fortunately, our mHealth solution can help you avoid these obstacles. Here’s how:

  • Lack of Budget: 
    • A lack of budget may seem like the largest impediment to acquiring digital health tools and necessary technology. However, this should be considered as a valuable investment.  One of the most tangible benefits of using portable, real time updated, mobile health technology is its consistent availability for patients and clinicians. Our mHealth solution synchronises the data from the patient’s smartphone to the clinician’s web portal in real time. Patients can feel connected to their treatment and their clinician beyond scheduled sessions. mHealth technology can ultimately record more data and information regarding the patient’s progress than old pen and paper methods, and provide availability and support for the patient when the clinician cannot physically be there. A more informed treatment can save time and resources for patient and healthcare alike.
  • There are several benefits to using our technology that you may have not known of:
  • Another barrier that healthcare professionals may face is the selection of the right mHealth solution.
    • Although there are currently 165,000 mobile health apps on the market, the selection does not have to be daunting. A good way to begin this selection is by identifying and specifying what types of disorders you would like assistance with from your mHealth app.  Another way to narrow down the selection is through the identification of the mHealth solutions that possess quality stamps (such as CE Marks and ISO certifications) as well as a clinical validation. In order to obtain the certification, these solutions must have passed a set of agreed upon standards for medical devices that cover data security management and quality of material.
  • Interactive and consistent support: 
    • We understand that using technology can be frustrating and difficult, which is why at Monsenso we offer several ways to get help from real people – instead of an automated service.  We offer an interactive support portal and dedicated customer support team, as well as a detailed user guide.

Still have questions about mHealth? Feel free to contact us or leave us a comment below.

How electronic monitoring can assist a psychiatric medication change

How electronic monitoring can assist a psychiatric medication change

In undergoing psychiatric treatment for mental illnesses, it is very common to be prescribed medication. While medication can be an important and helpful part of treatment, the process of finding the right medication for each patient can be a tedious and sometimes hazardous process.  It is common practice for patients with mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia [1] , depression [2]  and bipolar [3], to switch through multiple psychiatric medications.

The Australian Genetics of Depression Survey, which includes 13,000 participants with clinical depression, reported that one in ten participants have used five or more antidepressants during their psychiatric treatment [2] The survey also reported that patients with depression will often cycle through multiple antidepressants using a trial and error approach to find the medication that best suits the patient. [2] However, by using the trial and error methodology, this process can take a very long before benefits are observed [2] and of more concern, patients may experience adverse health side effects from changing and stopping medication.

Adverse side-effects are an unfortunately common occurrence for patients taking psychiatric medication. The Australian Genetics of Depression Survey reported 76% of participants with clinical depression had some medication related side-effects and 38% of participants reported that side-effects of the medication were so severe that they had to either stop or change the medication. Participants in the survey reported antidepressant side-effects of nausea, headaches, drowsiness, and fatigue [2]. Other side-effects of antidepressants may include physical withdrawal pains from forgetting to take medication and ensuing anxiety over forgetting to take the medication again [4].

Adverse side-effects can also occur from abruptly stopping psychiatric medication. This can result in complications such as the rapid return of the illness being treated  [2], mild to moderate discontinuation symptoms[5], or in some severe cases, such as the cessation of a high dose of benzodiazepines, potentially life threatening seizures [5].

Fortunately, these side-effects can be reduced:

Firstly, it is strongly advised to take the medication switching or stopping process gradually, carefully, and slowly. [3] [5]

Secondly, harmful side-effects can be reduced for patients by maintaining constant engagement with their clinician through actively participating in their treatment by asking questions and providing feedback, closely monitoring their own behaviour and ensuring that their medication changes remain under active clinician supervision. [5]

Monitoring can be particularly critical to a medication switching period. According to Dr. Ross J. Baldessarini, the professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and director of the psychopharmacology program at the McLean Division of Massachusetts General Hospital, the initial period following medication discontinuation is the most critical period and should be closely monitored, as some people may not experience the withdrawal and harmful symptoms of stopping medication for weeks, or even months after stopping the medication. [5]

Interactive electronic monitoring

An interactive electronic approach for self-monitoring offers a monitoring technique that includes a more accurate, comprehensive, and real-time assessment within naturalistic settings [6]. This type of monitoring is ideal for patients who are undergoing the medication switching process and need to constantly provide their clinician with accurate and extensive details about their mood states and behaviour.

There are several advantages to electronic monitoring as opposed to pen and paper data collection, such as:

  • Making data immediately available for analyses through online and digital formats [6]
  • By being able to log data in real time, patients are not subject to the same potential recall bias as when reporting data retrospectively using a pen and paper method. [7][8][9][10]
  • Daily information regarding patient behaviour that may have been lost due to cognitive dysfunction [6], impairments, stressful life or health factors, or simply forgetting, is readily recorded by an electronic system as opposed to depending on self-reporting with the pen and paper method.

Interactive Electronic Monitoring through Monsenso’s mHealth Solution 

Monsenso’s mHealth solution is an interactive electronic monitoring system which utilises a double loop feedback model. The first loop consists of the patient’s smartphone app and a web portal is connected to the second loop, which is the clinician’s web portal. The smartphone app uses sensors to automatically collect data from the patients, and allows patients to fill out a daily self-assessment regarding the state of their symptoms and their medicinal intake. This data is sent immediately to the connected clinician’s web portal.

Monsenso’s interactive electronic monitoring system can have these important benefits by optimising the consultation and engagement flow between patient and clinician:

  1. Offers the ability to verify the timing and compliance of data collection. [11]
  2. The smartphone app can send a daily notification with a reminder for the patient to complete the self-assessment or take their medication.
  3. Patients can fill out a customised diary note about the potential side-effects of medication or their symptoms to share with clinicians.
  4. Clinicians can obtain daily, real time, and comprehensive information about the clinical state of the patient, such as the state and occurrence of their symptoms and their medicinal intake.
  5. Patients and clinicians can obtain measures of daily variability of clinical states and behaviours of the patient.[11]
  6. This data is visualised in a line chart, where patients and clinicians can view the chart together to discover time-trends and relationships between behavioural variables and clinical states. [11]
  7. This information and awareness can foster patients to make earlier adjustments to their behaviour, as well as engage in a more focused treatment. [11]
  8. This information can also provide preparation for a clinician in administering rapid early intervention. [11]

The Monsenso mHealth solution can provide the carefully supervised and comprehensive monitoring of patients’ behaviour necessary to help ease the medication and stopping switching process.

[1] Effectiveness of switching antipsychotic medications. Susan M., et al. American Journal of Psychiatry 163.12.2090-2095. (2006)

[2] What Patients say about taking antidepressants. What patients say about taking antidepressants | 6 minutes. https://www.6minutes.com.au/node/20078

[3]  Getting Through a Major Medication Change. International Bipolar Foundation. http://www.ibpf.org/blog/getting-through-major-medication-change

[4]  My Impossible Quest for the Right Depression Meds.  I.Masad. Marie Claire. (2017, June 14) http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/features/a20452/finding-the-right-depression-medication/ 

[5] Discontinuing Psychiatric Medications: What You Need to Know. M. Tartakovsky. Psych Central. (2016, July 17) https://psychcentral.com/lib/discontinuing-psychiatric-medications-what-you-need-to-know/

[6] Cognitive symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder and their implications for clinical practice. G. Papakostas. The Journal of clinical psychiatry 75.1 (2014):8-14.

[7] New technologies to improve clinical trials. Kobak, Kenneth A., et al. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 21.3 (2001): 255-256.

[8] Patient compliance with paper and electronic diaries. Stone, Arthur A., et al. Controlled clinical trials 24.2 (2003): 182-199.

[9] The electronic assessment of the longitudinal course of bipolar disorder: the ChronoRecord software. Whybrow, P. C., et al Pharmacopsychiatry 36.S 3 (2003): 244-249.

[10] Trends in ambulatory self-report: the role of momentary experience in psychosomatic medicine. Conner, Tamlin S., and Lisa Feldman Barrett. Psychosomatic medicine 74.4 (2012): 327.

[11] Usability, Acceptability, and Adherence to an Electronic Self-Monitoring System in Patients With Major Depression Discharged From Inpatient Wards. Lauritsen, Lise, et al. Journal of medical Internet research 19.4 (2017).

mHealth -scalable and cost-effective mental healthcare

mHealth -scalable and cost-effective mental healthcare

mHealth offers the opportunity to offer scalable and cost-effective mental healthcare. One of the greatest challenges the healthcare systems face is the long-term care of individuals with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia since the impact this has on individuals, families and societies is huge. Fortunately, some of these issues can be partially solved with the use of mHealth technology. Besides, the advantages of online therapy are many, including a more personalised treatment, patient-empowerment, teaching self-care and helping people who wouldn’t receive treatment otherwise.

Schizophrenia has an estimated point prevalence of 0.4% and a lifetime risk of 1%, which means that 1 in every 100 people will suffer from schizophrenia during their lifetime. It is the 7th most important illness in terms of years lived with disability, accounting for 2.8% of disability caused by all illnesses. For people aged 15 to 44 years, it is the 3rd most important disease, accounting for 4.9% of disability resulting from all illnesses.

During the last few decades, the European Union has made a huge effort to overcome these barriers and to ensure high-quality, longer-term care for people with severe mental disorders. These efforts started in the 60’s with the development of new pharmacological treatments for psychosis, which radically changed the prognosis of severe mental illness. In the 70’s and the 80’s, there was an emergence of new psychosocial interventions and new concepts of mental health care organisations [1].

Nowadays, there is a need to shift the health care model. The transition from traditional large psychiatric institutions to modern comprehensive community-based models of care, including acute patient units at general hospitals [1].

According to a report published by EU, this shift is necessary due to the following reasons:

  • Accessibility to mental health care of people with longer-term mental disorders is much better with community-based services than with the traditional psychiatric hospitals
  • Community-based services are associated with greater user satisfaction and increased met needs. They also promote better continuity of care making possible to identify and treat more often early relapses
  • The community-based services protect the human rights of people with mental disorders and prevent stigmatisation of those people
  • Studies comparing community-based services with other models of care consistently show significantly better outcomes on adherence to treatment [1]

However, European healthcare systems need to make lots of alterations if they want to provide accessible, effective, high-quality and long-term care to people suffering from severe mental disorders.

Challenges of the transition to new comprehensive community-based models of care

One of the main reasons why the development of long-term mental health services is insufficient is due to the lack of coordination between the different health services. A close coordination, and even joint funding and management of health and social care services is fundamental to cope with the new challenges European mental health systems are now facing. [1].

According to the report, these are the key principles to organise mental health services:

Accessibility: Essential mental health care should be available locally, including outpatient and inpatient care, as well as rehabilitative care. Local services provide continuity of care in a satisfactory manner.

Comprehensiveness: Mental health services should include all facilities and programmes required to meet the essential care needs of the populations.

Coordination and continuity of care: People suffering from severe mental disorders often find it extremely difficult to gain access to various basic services; therefore, it is crucial that services work in a coordinated manner.  This coordination should also include services that are not directly related to health, such as social services and housing services.

Effectiveness: Service development should be guided by evidence of the effectiveness of particular interventions. For example, there is a growing evidence base of effective interventions for many mental disorders, among them depression, schizophrenia and alcohol dependence.

Equity: A person’s access to services of good quality should be based on need. It is quite often that the people who need these type of services the most are the least able to ask for help.

Respect for human rights: Services should respect the autonomy of persons with mental disorders, and encourage such persons to make decisions affecting their lives and treatment [1].

Scalable and cost-effective mental healthcare

The Monsenso mHealth solution does not only offer cost-effective mental healthcare, it can can facilitate five of the six points mentioned in the report to organise mental health services in an optimal way.

Accessibility: With mobile technology and telehealth, care providers can reach patients living in remote locations at a minimal cost. These technologies offer care providers more flexibility to deliver health care while on-the-go or from different locations—expanding the clinic’s service offerings [2].

Coordination and continuity of care: The Monsenso mobile health solution can facilitate and support the care of patients suffering from severe mental illnesses from community-based models. Due to its cloud-based model and unlimited scalability, patient records can be accessed by multiple organisations such as psychiatric institutions, general practitioners, and social services, among others.

Effectiveness and equity: With help of the Monsenso smartphone app, care providers can identify on a daily basis triggers and early warning signs of all patients in the system. With the Monsenso mHealth solution clinicians can prioritize caring for individuals who need immediate attention and continue to monitor individuals who are stable. According to the National Institute of mental health, early intervention is critical to treating mental illness before it can cause tragic results such as serious impairment, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and suicide [4].

 Respect for human rights: The Monsenso smartphone app enables patients to fill in daily self-assessments and write notes about how they feel. The information collected from these assessments is shared with the clinic, allowing individuals to be more involved with their treatment. The Monsenso smartphone app also provides individuals with customised action plans that act as guidelines in case their symptoms appear enabling individuals to take responsibility for their behaviours and actions.

References:

[1] The long-term mental health care for people with severe mental disorders. J.M Caldas de Almeida, H. Killaspy. Prepared under service contract with the Impact Consortium by the European Commission. 2011.
http://ec.europa.eu/health/mental_health/docs/healthcare_mental_disorders_en.pdf

[2] Increasing access to behavioural health care through technology. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (2013, February).
http://www.hrsa.gov/publichealth/guidelines/behavioralhealth/behavioralhealthcareaccess.pdf

[3] Directors Blog: SAMHSA and NIMH partner to support early intervention for serious mental illness. P. Hyde and T. Insel. National Institute of Mental Health Blog (2014, June 17)
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2014/samhsa-and-nimh-partner-to-support-early-intervention-for-serious-mental-illness.shtml

[4] Evidence based treatment for first episode of psychosis: Components of coordinated specialty care. PHD R. K. Heinssen. RAISE NIMH (2014, April 14).
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/raise/nimh-white-paper-csc-for-fep_147096.pdf

Why pharma can benefit from mHealth solutions

Why pharma can benefit from mHealth solutions

Pharma can benefit from mHealth solutions by using them in clinical trials, and by offering them to healthcare providers as part of a comprehensive treatment solution.

Meeting the needs of healthcare providers

The healthcare industry is widely adopting digital technologies. But, today’s healthcare providers are extremely busy between seeing patients and filing paperwork, which limits their time online.

Nowadays, more than 80% of HCPs have a desktop/laptop computer and a smartphone, and 72% own a tablet. [1] Mobile assets are rapidly becoming components in the clinical environment.

Pharma can benefit from mHealth solutions since many healthcare providers would like to find new evidence-based medicine to provide better treatment for their patients, but in many cases, they don’t have time.  In fact, according to a survey conducted by Publicis on Sermo, 81% of clinicians want higher quality pharma representatives capable of having serious discussions of multiple therapeutic options. [2]

Pharma can benefit from mHealth solutions by offering  them to healthcare providers, and  help them satisfy their needs – improving health outcomes, information sharing, and staying updated with the latest treatments.  Providing this type of solution will not only facilitate their customers’ jobs, but they will also open new doors and new opportunities to propose comprehensive treatment solutions.

Pharma should reach out to healthcare providers and offer them digital tools, content, and communities that can help them do their jobs more efficiently.

Improving outcomes in clinical trials

Given the challenges faced during clinical trials, it is only natural that pharma turns to mHealth solutions to help them recruit patients, as well as monitoring and measuring their results.

Subjects are much more likely to participate in a study if they have the possibility to raise their concerns or ask any questions 24/7.

Pharma can benefit from mHealth solutions, since these tools can collect even more data in real-time, improve efficiencies in time and costs, shorten timelines, as well as increase patient satisfaction, retention, and future recruitment.

A key element of success when using mHealth solutions for clinical trials is the ease with which mHealth solutions can collect data, and how that information is integrated into the whole clinical database. These data integrations should be done as closely as possible to real-time, making it easy for clinicians to visualise all the patients’ data.

Conducting clinical studies using mobile devices can help collect and monitor behavioural data and vital signs in patients. These solutions can also work as medication reminders and gather patient feedback – all these improve the decision-making process when developing new medicines.

Monsenso can provide Pharma companies with  a customised, white-label mHealth solution for their clients and to use on clinical trials. If you are interested in learning more about this, click here.

References:

[1]. Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, Inc. (2012). What Physicians Want! http://en.calameo.com/read/00018255192e3ec186674?authid=adzLms3ud6Vf
[2] Manhattan Research. Unknown Author. (2013). Taking the pulse 2013. www.manhattanresearch.com
[3] MHealth in Clinical Research. Denise, Myshko. Pharma Voice. (2016, October) http://www.pharmavoice.com/article/2016-10-mhealth/

mHealth solution is a future and best alternative to implement remote patient monitoring

mHealth solution is a future and best alternative to implement remote patient monitoring

Number of monitored patients is increasing and alternative monitoring needs to be implemented

According to a new report by Berg Insight, a market research firm in Sweden, there were 7.1 million patients monitored remotely worldwide in 2016, which is an increase of 44%.
The report also forecasts that the number will grow to 50.2 million by 2021.

Smartphones as a new alternative to implement remote patient monitoring

Using the individuals’ own smartphones seems to be the best alternative to implement remote patient monitoring. Berg Insight predicts that by 2021, there will be 22.9 million patients monitored remotely with their own device.

Care delivery platforms and mHealth solutions are the two most rapidly developing segments of the digital health technology value chain, since this technology helps patients become more involved in their treatment, helps them obtain improved quality of care, it offers them peace of mind, improved support, education and feedback.

Additionally, the benefits of having patients monitored remotely with this type of technology are clear for clinicians and healthcare providers — ease of access to patient data, the ability to deliver higher-quality care to more patients, lower costs and higher efficiency, to name just a couple.

Reference:

MHealth and Home Monitoring. Berg Insight. 2015.
http://www.berginsight.com/ReportPDF/ProductSheet/bi-mhealth8-ps.pdf