Excerpts from an article in Pharmaphorum: For years, digital health has been heralded as the saviour of health services and the answer to patient engagement. Now the conversation is changing from what technology can do, to what it might need a little help with – and that’s offering the human touch.
We are living through a revolution in technology, yet in no other sector is empathy, understanding and human interaction more important than in healthcare. And as the world around us becomes ever more automated, it’s time to take stock and make sure innovation still has people at its heart.
During a session on technology in care at last year’s MS Trust annual conference, Christine Singleton, a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Birmingham, extolled the virtues of technology in the quest to deliver high-quality, patient-centred care. She also highlighted its limitations.
“We are all human. Everyone needs a raft of support, from family, friends, healthcare and other professionals. We all respond to love and compassion,” she said.
Of course, technology, digital health and mobile health (mHealth) initiatives have the potential to improve patient activation and self-management. But not on their own.
Part of the problem is that a certain amount of human-led “ground work” is needed before digital heath interventions can be truly effective.
Getting the patient there is one thing but keeping them is another. Within 3 days of download, 70 per cent of health apps have been uninstalled. By 90 days, that figure is 95 per cent.2
Technology, on its own, is not enough to bring about the promised revolution in healthcare. An app won’t remind you why you have to take your medicine on time or tell you a joke when it notices you are having a bad day.
A person’s healthcare team is there to support and educate in a way that an app never will. mHealth may well be part of a care package, but without human backup, it won’t do the job it was designed to do.
“Beyond-the-pill services” like mHealth can help to ensure patients get the best out of these treatments, optimise adherence, improve outcomes and increase loyalty – all leading to the best possible return on that investment.
So, from development to preparation to ongoing support, it’s time to put the people at the centre of complementary therapy that is digital health.
Read the full article here: https://pharmaphorum.com/views-and-analysis/digital-health-as-a-complementary-therapy/