Moving digital tools beyond the exam room & into patient's home


Michael Hodgkins, MD, MPH, AMA chief medical information officer, talks about the necessity of developing guidelines for safe and effective mobile health apps that will enhance patient care.

More than half of all adults have at least one chronic condition. As we seek to achieve better outcomes for these individuals, we must extend patient care beyond the exam room and into patients’ homes and work places.

This is perhaps one of the most compelling applications of digital health tools. Digital tools have the potential to not only enhance physicians’ ability to engage with patients and manage chronic conditions, but also create efficiencies in the daily practice of medicine.

There are more than 50,000 mHealth apps targeting the management of chronic disease but most lack evidence for their claims or have not demonstrated their value to consumers and physicians. There is a need for guidelines to ensure these new tools are safe and effective and for developers to consider the needs of practicing physicians and how best to engage patients when designing these solutions.

An organization leading the charge to ensure health technologies meet the needs of end users in a responsible way is Xcertia. Their framework of principles will guide the development of safe, effective and reputable health technologies, which will positively affect the trajectory of the mobile health app market. Xcertia invites other organizations and individuals to join the collaboration and add their expertise to the development of guidelines for mobile health apps. Additionally, the AMA’s Physician Innovation Network allows physicians to influence the development of emerging solutions in health care as well as connect with health tech companies. To date, we have over 3,000 physicians and health tech companies engaging on the platform.

One of the most notable topics at HIMSS18 was patient engagement and access. As technology continues to help us explore new frontiers in how care is delivered, initiatives that ensure technology advances health care in a meaningful way will expand opportunities for digital health tools to achieve their full potential. The AMA is proud to be a vital part of this conversation.

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