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New Government Website Highlights e-Health Success Stories; Case Study Shows Why Mobile Communication Works

Recently the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and QualityInnovations_Exchange.png (AHRQ) launched a new Website, “Health Care Innovations Exchange” that features success stories on how health industry stakeholders are using a range of technologies to improve care.  What’s also interesting is that AHRQ is looking at what failed so that people can learn from others’ mistakes.  

Currently the Website features 100 case studies and will be updated every two weeks.  I believe this site is critically important.  A common mantra of those working in the e-health field is “this sounds nice,” but did it work?  With AHRQ’s new Website we can now learn from what others have done so that we are not constantly reinventing the wheel or simply throwing interventions at the wall to see what sticks.  Having more information does not preclude the need for experimentation and risk-taking, but it makes convincing people of the value of a particular technology much easier if you have a sense of its ROI.  


Learning From An Innovative Mobile Campaign

I’ve already gotten some use out of the site.  As readers of this blog are aware, I’ve been focusing on how mobile can enhance patient-provider communication, and potentially improve outcomes.  I conducted a search (using the word "mobile) on AHRQ’s new site and found an interesting case study of how mobile technology was used to improve the care of young asthma patients.  According to AHRQ:

“San Mateo Medical Center distributed mobile phones with customized software to young asthma patients, allowing them to communicate with and receive real-time feedback from providers on at least a daily basis. The focus of the communication was on how to better manage their condition on an ongoing basis, with the goal of reducing exacerbations that might lead to costly acute episodes.

A 6-month pilot test of the 'Asthma Assistant' conducted at the San Mateo Medical Center found that the initiative reduced health care utilization and enhanced other outcomes. The study, which involved 50 children and adolescents with severe and persistent asthma covered by Medicaid, found the following:

    * Reduced health care utilization: During the pilot, patients had no unscheduled physician visits for asthma-related conditions, and there were no ED visits for asthma-related conditions, compared to a national average of 2-3 visits annually.
    * Improved compliance with drug regimens: Compliance with prescribed drug regimens doubled, from about 40 percent to about 80 percent.
    * Strong adherence to diary regimen: 72 percent of participants reported symptoms once daily, while 92 percent reported symptoms by the second day. These figures compare favorably to the typical 30-40 percent “best-practice” reporting rates achieved through use of paper diary logs.
    * Enhanced productivity: Patient school days and parent work days missed due to asthma-related complications were reduced to 0.
    * High patient satisfaction: Mobile phone usability and patient satisfaction with the application were both high (95 percent each). Patients generally favored the mobile phone diary over a paper diary, finding it more convenient and fun to use.”

Interesting, interesting stuff.  I encourage you to take a look at the site. And, if you have an innovation you’d like to share, consider submitting it to AHRQ.  

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