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Editorial: High-tech care

High-tech care


March 24, 2015
By Mari-Len De


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Some doctors in the States are taking patient care to the next level by merging personal apps with electronic health records to better monitor patient progress and, hopefully, prevent a costly trip to the emergency department.

Doctors from Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey are tracking a number of patients with high risk of heart failure by asking them to use a fitness app to count their steps and a nutrition app to record what they eat. Through Apple’s HealthKit technology, data gathered from these apps are transferred to the Epic MyChart app on the iPhone, which then gets transmitted to the hospital’s electronic health records system, which is also based on the Epic platform.

Other hospitals, like the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans, are also starting to implement similar initiatives for various purposes and patients.

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The objective for all these programs is to provide health-care practitioners a clearer picture of their patients’ behaviours, conditions and symptoms beyond just a 30-minute clinic visit. The hope is to enhance prevention and offer early intervention of potential illnesses.

Advancements in health-care technology have effectively empowered individuals to take more responsibility for their own health, by making software and applications easily accessible and personal. Smart phone apps have made health care cool and wearable fitness tracking devices trendy.

Pioneering hospitals and health-care practitioners taking advantage of new technologies to enhance patient care are on the right track. They are not only helping patients achieve better health outcomes; they are also effectively engaging the younger generation, the tech-savvy patients, in a medium they are most comfortable with and will likely respond to.

If society is to truly enhance patient care and improve the health of the population in a meaningful and sustainable way, it’s going to need all the resources it can get.

So, if you’re trying to find ways to engage and energize your patients about their health, I’m pretty sure there’s an app for that.


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