NYU Stern Study Shows Significant Health Improvement in Diabetes Patients after Downloading Mobile Health Applications
Emerging mobile health technologies persuade patients to modify behavior and better manage their care while reducing hospital visits and medical expenses over time
By assisting patients with behavior modification and disease self-management, mHealth platforms have tremendous potential for improving health outcomes and reducing medical costs.
This first-of-its-kind study combines data from a major mHealth firm, as well as the Office of Chronic Disease Management, in China to evaluate the potential value of technologies such as mobile health apps and mobile-enabled EHRs as well as the importance of mHealth platform design in achieving better health care outcomes.
Analyzing almost 10,000 unique responses from diabetes patients over 15 months, the study reveals:
- Patients who adopt the mHealth platform see over 2000% reduction, on average, in glucose levels over time. They also show an average 327% reduction in hospital visits and 799% reduction in medical expenses, suggesting a significant economic effect for healthcare providers, insurance carriers, and individual patients.
- Mobility is key to patients’ self-management success. The mHealth platform has more than 20% greater impact on patients’ health outcomes as the web-based option, although both versions provide the same functionality.
- Platform design is critical to achieving better health outcomes. Non-personalized SMS messages with generalized guidance about diabetes care are 18% more effective than personalized messages at reducing glucose levels over time. However, personalized SMS messages are more effective in reducing hospital visits and medical costs. Knowing when to employ each, in combination with other functionality, is vital for patient empowerment.
With an estimated 50% of smartphone and tablet users now downloading mHealth applications and a market growing at a rate close to 50%, mHealth technologies have the potential to transform the way patients communicate with their healthcare providers, evaluate health recommendations, and implement their chronic-disease therapy.
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