There is an app for everything, and healthcare is no exception. Digital health apps are big business, but maybe they could be better utilized. The way we use telehealth is evolving rapidly, and it varies from state to state, but could that change at some point? Getting information about your health is important, but in many cases when you’re seeking information, you end up finding that there is no shortage of misinformation.
Be careful where you get your information about cancer treatments, reports medicalxpress.com. A new study found that misinformation about health conditions is becoming more and more common, especially on social media sites. The study looked at 200 of the most popular cancer treatment articles found on social media, and discovered that one third of them include misinformation, and that those articles get more attention and engagement than the articles with evidence-based information. The misinformation is not only misleading, but it can also potentially be harmful to patients and negatively affect patient outcomes. One way to avoid misinformation is to use trusted sites like Patient Empowerment Network’s powerfulpatients.org, and it’s always important to talk to your trusted care provider about any treatment information you find online. Find out more about the study here.
Access to Telehealth
As special Covid-19 legislation expires in many states, access to telehealth is less certain, reports healthcaredive.com. During the Covid-19 pandemic many states used waivers to allow medical professionals to provide telehealth care to patients in other states. The waivers have already expired in some states like Florida, Alaska, New York, and Minnesota, but other states like Arizona are passing legislation to make the telehealth waivers permanent. Advocates for making permanent changes to telehealth access say it would help with staffing shortages, providing access to healthcare in rural areas, and maintaining doctor/patient relationships. It can also be beneficial to those who need to see specialty providers not available in their home states. However, because medical licensing is regulated at the state level, it’s difficult for doctors who want to practice across state lines. As the lawmakers continue to try to make telemedicine available to those who need it, some are saying a federal medical licensing system might be in order, or a system of reciprocity between states where out-of-state licenses would be automatically recognized. It will be interesting to see what permanent telehealth regulations result. Find out more here.
While many say telehealth increases access to care, there are others who say it could do just the opposite. Check out forbes.com to read an opinion on how to make sure telehealth doesn’t end up being a contributor to health inequities here.
There is no shortage of digital health apps, reports mobihealthnews.com. A recent report discovered that of the 350,000 digital health apps available 47 percent are geared toward monitoring specific diseases or health conditions, such as diabetes. The report also found that the effectiveness of health apps is being studied more often and that 90,000 new health apps were introduced in 2020. Not only are there a lot of digital health apps, but they are a big money industry as well. So far 2021 is showing record-breaking numbers in digital health investment. Learn more here.
While health apps are growing in number and popularity, they aren’t being fully utilized, reports medicalxpress.com. Typically, data and information that users collect and record about their health doesn’t connect to the patient’s medical chart. Healthcare providers then don’t have the opportunity to monitor the information or provide feedback about the data. However, a new study showed that patients with high blood pressure saw health benefits when they monitored their condition using an app that was accessible to their healthcare providers The study found that the typical patient had a reduction in systolic blood pressure. Researchers hope that eventually patients and providers can use mobile apps to better treat chronic health conditions and provide better health outcomes. Read more here.
Jennifer Lessinger is a professional writer and editor who learned the value of patient empowerment during her struggle with a hard-to-diagnose and complex endocrine disorder.