mHealth tools can increase patient engagement

mHealth tools can increase patient engagement

There are now 318,000 mHealth apps available in the market, that number has nearly doubled since 2015 driven by increased smartphone adoption and ongoing heavy investment in the digital health market. The global mobile health (mHealth) app market was estimated at $28.5 billion dollars in 2018 and is expected to reach $102.35 billion dollars by 2023. Health-related mobile applications and technologies are often known as mHealth and manage patient experiences.

A survey conducted every year from 2017 to 2019 by Rock Health revealed that:

  • 44% of the respondents tracked a health indicator using a digital tool in 2019, an increase from only 33% in 2017
  • 56% of the respondents shared health tracking data with their physicians in 2019, in comparison to only 46% on 2017

This integration of patient-collected data into patient-provider discussions represents an opportunity to use mobile technology to increase patient engagement and patient empowerment.

The impact of digital tracking tools is the greatest when such tools drive a positive behavioural change, incentivising the user to change the habits that impact their health outcomes, such as in the case with mental illness. This is called a “trackable condition, ” a situation in which a person is diagnosed with a condition that improves by tracking and altering relevant behaviours such as sleep, exercise, mood and medication compliance.

Recent research conducted by McMaster University revealed that cognitive behavioural therapy that connected therapists and patients through such modes as web-based applications, video-conferencing, email and texting, improved patients’ symptoms better than face to face.

A different survey conducted by Technology Advice stated that patient engagement through mHealth tools is one of the defining trends in U.S. healthcare.

The survey disclosed that:

  • 80% of patients say that digital services play an important role when choosing a physician
  • 60% of patients feel it’s important for a physician to follow up with them after an appointment
  • 80% of all patients would like to view their results and diagnosis online

Not surprisingly, 60% of millennials support the use of telehealth and 71% would like for their doctor to use mobile applications. However, young people are not the only ones embracing this type of technology. A senior health and technology survey revealed that over 90% of seniors have a health improvement goal and want to use mHealth tools to achieve it.

In spite of this growing trend, many healthcare providers have not yet fully embraced this technology, even though it is very important for patient engagement, and it is now seen as a vital part of the solution to solve many healthcare challenges. MHealth tools can help people self-manage their health and well-being, alert healthcare professionals in case of any changes in an individual’s condition, and support medication adherence. This technology also helps care providers deliver more efficient and cost-effective care. Now more than ever, healthcare authorities need to adopt new technologies to help meet these challenges and to keep up with their patients’ demands.

MHealth technology is here to stay, and healthcare providers can reap the benefits and build a better relationship with their patients sooner rather than later if they take the time to learn more about the different solutions available out there. For example, a good way of selecting an mHealth solution provider is by taking into consideration a manufacturer’s technical and clinical evaluation studies, randomised clinical trials. It is also important to look out for quality stamps such as CE Mark, ISO certifications and medical device certifications.

The Monsenso solution is a clinically-validated, CE Class I Marked mHealth solution classified as a Medical Device, consisting of a smartphone app for patients and web portal for healthcare providers that is widely used in the prevention and treatment of common behavioural disorders such as depression and anxiety. It can also be configured to prevent and treat severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia. It is currently being used by over 1,000 patients across the globe and is highly valued by patients and healthcare providers.

Mobile Health (mHealth) App Market – Industry Trends, Opportunities and Forecasts to 2023
Rock Health Survey 2017-2019

What Is the difference between a health app and an mhealth solution?

What Is the difference between a health app and an mhealth solution?

Over the past few years, mHealth solutions have begun to solve some of the problems that are ailing healthcare. MHealth is paving the way for better data management, doctor-patient communication, reduced hospital admissionsmedication adherence, and remote patient monitoring. 

MHealth solutions are improving outcomes in measurable, repeatable ways by connecting patients with their doctors.

In 2017 mHealth captured $23 billion in revenues, with an estimated growth rate of 35% annually over the next several years.

What is the difference between a health app and an mHealth solution?

Health apps are application programmes that offer health-related services for smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other communication devices.

The most popular categories of health/wellness apps are: 

  • Sports and fitness activity tracking
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Weight loss coaching
  • Medication tracking
  • Sleep cycle
  • Stress and relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Menstrual period tracking
  • Pregnancy
  • Hospital selection and appointment tracking

Health apps can provide valuable information to users. However, it may be hard to determine the accuracy of the information provided and may not be easy to share this data with the user’s doctor.

MHealth or mobile health refers to the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, personal digital assistants and wireless infrastructure. It encompasses all applications of telecommunications and multimedia technologies for the delivery of healthcare and health information.

Why is mHealth used?

  • Provides education and awareness
  • Assists with diagnostic and treatment support
  • Enables remote data collection
  • Facilitates remote monitoring
  • Enables telemedicine
  • Supports chronic disease management
  • Support medication compliance

Numerous mHealth initiatives across the world have demonstrated the efficacy of using mobile devices to deliver better care in a cost-effective manner.

Many mHealth solutions offer different types of information sharing, such as data collection through patient self-assessments, electronic questionnaires, and sensor data. They can also offer emergency action plans and an encrypted messaging system that allows direct communication with the clinic.

Besides, many mHealth solutions are considered certified medical devices that have a proven record of helping healthcare professionals in the monitoring and treatment of their patients.

Both, health apps and mHealth solutions can both be used on-the-go. However, the main difference is that health apps are for consumers-only and mHealth solutions improve the collaboration between patients and healthcare professionals.


mHealth (Mobile Healthcare) Ecosystem Market: 2017-2030 – $23 Billion Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts.

Health apps definition.

What is mHealth?


Big Data in treating mental disorders

Big Data in treating mental disorders

Big data in treating mental disorders explains how data is transforming the treatment of mental disorders and the overall life science industry. Monsenso’s mHealth solution shows how technology provides new ways to inform treatment and achieve scalability. This is a blog post written by Mads Frost PhD, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Monsenso

The challenge with mental health today

According to numerous analyses and forecasts conducted by several international organizations and authorities, mental health today is one of the biggest challenges for society and health budgets. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that mental disorders will be the greatest health burden for society in the coming years. This emphasizes the need for solutions to remedy this. Presently, technology is the best bet.

An example of the utilisation of technology to help overcome the burden of mental health for society is Monsenso. Monsenso is an innovation leader in mHealth solutions for the treatment of mental disorders. Monsenso helps support the treatment of mental disorders by inspiring and strengthening cooperation between patients and therapists.

Based on continuous research with leading experts in psychiatry, pervasive healthcare and data science, Monsenso has designed an innovative solution that fits into each patient’s life and helps them to better manage their disease as well as increasing the quality and effectiveness of treatment. It has been developed in a user-centred design approach, with patients, clinicians and relatives, to ensure that the solution is easy to apply and fits into the patient’s life and treatment.

The mental x-ray

Through daily self-assessment, clinical questionnaires, and collection of behavioural data from both sensors in modern Smartphone, wearables, and even voice analyses of patients’ voices, Monsenso provides the patient and the therapist with a detailed insight into the user’s mental health state. Through the application of advanced data analysis, indicators such as behavioural patterns, contexts and even forecasting future conditions and risk levels can be demonstrated – all with the purpose of gaining better insight into the patient’s mental health and providing an improved basis for treatment.

Generally, many organizations are fighting to realize mHealth’s full potential. According to a study where clinicians have been asked: “What is your most pressing information technology problem”, the answer that received the highest percentage of responses was, “turning data into action.” [1]

Psychiatry has previously used paper schemes to collect information from patients. However, but current technology provides access to a wide range of information that has not previously been available. This technology can be called the mental x-ray, in that using this technology can be used to see and monitor mental functioning with x-ray like precision and detail. This allows for early interventions and to help patients when they are in need. An example of this at work is the Monsenso based research into using voice analysis as an objective state marker for bipolar disorder . [2]

Paradigm shift in treatment: How do we achieve scalability?

To achieve the benefits of technology, it is necessary to adapt the clinical workflows. Psychiatry has a very traditional form of treatment where the patient meets the therapist and receives face-to-face treatment. The future brings more patients and fewer therapists – how do we scale this?

One possible solution is to optimising treatment is to use monitoring systems. These systems can rapidly identify which patients are in need of help, and which ones are well. In this way, clinicians’ time can be focused on patients who are in need.  Likewise, the systems can be more treatment-supporting, taking over the trivial and automatable tasks of the clinician, allowing them to spend their time on those with the greatest needs – the complex cases that technology cannot help. The last perspective – a paradigm shift in treatment – is to go from a reactive to a proactive approach. The proactive approach comes from gathering more detailed information, to lead to more informed decisions and earlier interventions. More information can help immediately notify both patients and clinicians when things start to go in the wrong direction, and need help to prevent potential hospitalisations. And the patients, who are well, can focus on life and not illness. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is not a trivial task to realise this.

How should we realise the potential of ‘Big Data’

On an overall level, there are a number of points that companies that are active in data-driven health technology should think about to thrive in complex health environments:

  • Find applications and services that bring tangible value to identifiable stakeholders – it must provide meaning and value to end users
  • Think on a global scale
  • Focus on solutions, not technology
  • Identify potential partners to create greater impact and find new value

Most of all, those who come from the outside into the healthcare domain must avoid the trap of seeing technology as something different from healthcare. Its greatest value will be how it integrates with healthcare systems and allows clinicians to provide better care for patients.

In some cases, technology will appear illusory: Personal contact between patient and therapist will always have a place in treatment, but data driven approaches can revolutionise the basis on which treatment is given.

Where are we going?

There are many possibilities that presents itself when exploring data driven approaches. I have  particularly emphasised ‘Context Aware Computing’ as one of the perspectives that are important to pursue. The goal is to use the context of the patients to provide the right intervention, to the right patient, at the right time, at the right place. This is not a trivial task, but extremely important for solutions like Monsenso to really help patients. The present systems are still relatively unintelligent in terms of achieving this, based on the amount of data available. It is difficult to know the context of what the collected data in the system is based on – what experiences and thoughts the patients have.

[1]  Top 5 industry challenges of 2016 By Aubrey Westgate, November 30, 2015,0

[2]  VOICE ANALYSIS AS AN OBJECTIVE STATE MARKER IN BIPOLAR DISORDER. M Faurholt-Jepsen, J Busk, M Frost, M Vinberg, EM Christensen, O Winther, JE Bardram, and LV Kessing. Translational Psychiatry, 2016. (ISSN: 2158-3188) (DOI: tp.2016.123), vol: 6, issue: 7, 2016

The advantages of online therapy

The advantages of online therapy

Online therapy provides users access to a variety of therapy services offered by qualified and skilled practitioners from the comfort of their own home. There is no denying technology has impacted nearly every aspect of life and therapy is no exception. Secure platforms have been developed to allow the general public to connect with a licensed therapist through a variety of mediums including chat rooms, phone calls, and video sessions. Nowadays, there are different tools that support online therapy, from telehealth applications to smartphone applications. 

The advantages of online therapy are several, from closing the gap between a shortage of qualified mental health professionals in an area to reaching out people who live in rural areas, far away from a clinic. Additionally, online therapy can also reach people who have very busy schedules and can’t spare the commute, or those are not too comfortable with face to face appointments. 

The main advantages of online therapy are the following:

More personalised treatment

Telehealth and mHealth solutions are tools that can be used to personalise the treatment of individuals with a mental illness. Based on the individual, you can select the tools and features a person could find useful, such as pushing clinical questionnaires on their smartphones, answering electronic self-assessments, accessing psychoeducation, scheduling video sessions or teaching them self-care.

Furthermore, since the use of eHealth itself can help individuals to access psycho-education online, this means more time spent on face-to-face or online sessions.

Patient empowerment

Mental health professionals offer their patients therapy and counselling, however, without the person’s motivation to get better and hard work therapy may not be enough. Digital tools are designed to keep individuals motivated and have a more active role in their treatment, which tends to produce better results.

Nevertheless, digital tools are not only about motivating, but they also help with patient empowerment since they track a person’s behaviour over time, so they can take credit for their progress over time.

Teaches self-care

Therapists offer the best therapy and guidance they can, unfortunately, they cannot always be there to help; therefore, individuals need to learn to face their problems alone. By providing these individuals with an mHealth solution, they have access to valuable information that can be useful if their symptoms appear, and write down any comments on how they felt, so clinicians and individuals can review the situation together.

Helps people who otherwise wouldn’t receive any treatment

Many people who need mental health treatment have to wait endlessly to get an appointment if they manage to get any treatment at all, however, the demand for mental health services is on the rise. This problem can be easily solved with online therapy, which has proven to be, over the last few years, as efficient in-person therapy.

Scalable and cost-effective treatment

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 since it helps healthcare professionals to have under their care more individuals with fewer resources.

As Dr Margaret Chan, former Director-General of the World Health Organization,  said: “We must find ways to make sure that access to mental health services becomes a reality for all men, women and children, wherever they live.”

A smartphone app that supports patient empowerment

A smartphone app that supports patient empowerment

“A smartphone app that supports patient empowerment” – Mads Trier-Blom, a Monsenso user, talks about his experience using the Monsenso app, and how it has helped him to become more aware of his mood and other parameters, such as sleep, levels of stress and anxiety and the influence these parameters have on his illness, Bipolar Disorder.

Mads Trier-Blom, who is using the Monsenso app as part of a clinical trial, says the app helps him to be more connected with his clinician, Bente who intervenes when she can see that Mads’s is not feeling well, to help him avoid having an episode.

To Mads, having bipolar disorder feels like walking on a tightrope, since he constantly needs to keep his balance, and avoid losing control to a depressive or a manic episode. He thinks the app helps him keep his balance since he needs to registers his mood every day, which makes him more aware of the way he is feeling. The app also helps him identify any mood fluctuations he has during the week.

During the clinical trial, Mads felt more connected to his clinician, Bente. He recalls an instance when he had missed completing his self-assessments for a couple of days, and Bente called him to see how he was doing. At the beginning, since he was not expecting the call, he was a bit confused. However, when she identified herself and the purpose of her call, he relaxed and told her that he had been a bit tense lately, but that he was overall feeling well. This made him feel more aware of his mood and his behaviour as well as more alert.

“mHealth for better mental health treatment” Kristoffer Södersten’s Customer Story

“mHealth for better mental health treatment” Kristoffer Södersten’s Customer Story

To turn on English subtitles, click on the ‘CC’ at the bottom of the video. 

Psychiatrist Kristoffer Södersten from PsykiatriResurs in Sweden shares his experience using the Monsenso mHealth solution.

How does the Monsenso mHealth solution encourage and empower better mental health treatment? 

Kristoffer explains how the Monsenso mHealth solution helps him to enhance and inform treatment. Specifically, the solution helps him to gain more relevant information about his patients, such as information that couldn’t have been obtained through the traditional method of verbal sessions. “It’s difficult to retrieve reliable and consistent data from each patient during a verbal consultation with them,” says Kristoffer.

Obtaining the right information is key for psychiatrists and psychologists to provide an accurate diagnosis 

“[The accuracy from a diagnosis obtained] from face-to-face consultation depends so much on factors like personal relations, how comfortable the patient is in the conversation, cultural background, etc. Therefore, [due to these factors] it can be very arbitrary about which diagnosis a patient receives. This diagnosis can depend on which clinician he meets, and these other factors.” says Kristoffer. The information gathered from the Monsenso Clinic can help to provide a consistent and clearer view of the patient’s mental health, to better inform a diagnosis.

Kristoffer finds the Monsenso mHealth solution to be particularly helpful in capturing relevant objective data. The solution provides a comprehensive and easily accessible overview of relevant patient data, such as day score, mood score, sleep and medication adherence. Moreover, overview of collected sensor data, such as physical activity, social activity, phone usage and voice features can also be provided. This objective data can help to supplement the subjective data provided during verbal therapy.

“The technology of Monsenso can help us to gather more objective data that – together with the subjective experience – provide a more holistic picture of the patient’s problems, to help provide a more accurate diagnosis and follow-up treatment in a totally different way,” says Kristoffer.

Monsenso mHealth solution is providing a visualization of a historical data, which in some cases can identify why the symptoms appear and help to prevent them.

“You can also use this tool to predict future psychological outcomes, which can help us intervene early and prevent relapse.”