Dr Joseph Kvedar Outlines the Benefits of Mobile on Patient Engagement

The future of patient engagement in healthcare will be mobile, which should also help reduce healthcare disparities as more and more less-fortunate groups adopt smartphones, said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, vice president of Connected Health at Partners HealthCare.

The future of patient engagement in healthcare will be mobile, which should also help reduce healthcare disparity gaps as more and more less-fortunate groups adopt smartphones, said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, vice president of Connected Health at Partners HealthCare.

Transcript (slightly modified)

How do you expect patient engagement to evolve?

For the next several years we're going to see this whole idea of engagement get more and more tied to mobile health and mobile devices. It's just natural, because you have a device in the palm of your hand that you're checking, some people 150 times a day. So if I can get my health message in your path while you're working on your mobile device, I have a much better likelihood of engaging with you, as long as that message is personal, as long as it's relevant, as long as it helps you do something that you want to do to improve your life. We've seen that work in our own system in very important ways, and it can lower the need for human intervention, which is another way of building efficiency. So more and more emphasis on patient engagement via mobile.

Do you expect broad use of mHealth to widen or narrow the healthcare disparity gap?

Our experience with disparities has been that most of those individuals who are less fortunate tend to have mobile phones so almost all of our programs are designed to be both text messaging and mobile apps. On the other hand, the fastest growing population of smartphone users are the homeless, the folks who are in the health disparities group, so I think we're getting there. There will always be populations that this is inappropriate for, and of course that's why we have human beings and other tools to reach people. But we're finding that it's less and less of a problem in the health disparities sector. That's our experience anyway.