How Mobile Apps or Chronic Management Tools Help Manage Chronic Illnesses?

1 month ago

Being a healthcare IT company, we generally have discussions with 4 to 5 healthcare providers every day. 

Many share their practice challenges while many ask us directly for solutions.

Last week, an Ontario-based physician - Dr. John - running a private medical practice asked us the solution for the challenges he and his patients have been facing. 

The following was our conversation. 

How useful is the chronic care management app or chronic management tool?

Dr. John: 

Almost 40% of my patients have chronic illnesses. They have to visit my clinic every few weeks. And this is inconvenient for them. What can I do? 

Me: 

I understand. It is not convenient for patients having chronic illnesses to travel. And every in-person visit of patients also increases the workload of physicians. 

The most workable solution here is telemedicine for chronic care management. 

Let me explain. 

A chronic illness is not life-threatening if it is looked after and treated on time by the specialist. 

And telemedicine is made for non-life-threatening medical conditions.  

So, chronic care and telemedicine can go hand in hand! 

Patients having a chronic illness can directly talk to physicians using a mobile phone with a telemedicine app. 

The physician can also write ePrescription which gets delivered at the doorstep of patients. 

This does not only save time for physicians but also allows patients to receive chronic care without stepping out of the home! 

Tell me if you have any better way to offer convenience to the patients! 

Dr. John: 

But chronic care management is not only about medical consultation. Patients need to keep a record of their vital body signs. But they cannot keep it accurately. 

Me: 

Yes, many other physicians have also shared this same challenge. 

Patients generally fail to keep a record of their vital body signs in such a way that it helps physicians to identify the medical progress in the next consultation. 

The lack of an easy medium to store vital body signs is the major reason behind this. 

They either store it on paper or in an Excel sheet. (Most prefer paper!)

They don’t have any easy online medium which stores the data and shares it with a physician in real-time. 

Here, a personal health recording app can act as the best app for chronic care management as it enables patients to self-record medical data. 

But rather than developing a dedicated app for just health recording, I would suggest integrating this feature in the telemedicine app we discussed earlier. 

Because telemedicine + personal health recording app = chronic management tool! 

This way, the patients can easily store and share their vital body signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, glucose level with the physicians! 

Not only this, but physicians can also get reports in the form of a chart or a graph for easy understanding of patients’ condition.  

Dr. John: 

Oh, the chronic care management app is very useful. But what about self-care? These patients require to look after their food intake, medicines, workouts etc. 

Me: 

A chronic care management tool or app assists the patients in every step of their care journey. 

For example, 

  • The app reminds patients to take medicines on time. 
  • The app reminds patients to refill the prescription. 
  • The app reminds patients to do workouts. 
  • The app also suggests personalized workout plans based on the medical conditions of patients. 
  • The app reminds patients having diabetes to record blood sugar after every fixed interval. The same with patients having heart issues!  
  • The app also helps patients to track their food intake and follow the diet plan. 

And the best part of a chronic management tool is that it stores every data securely and shares it with physicians in real-time so that physicians can get the idea of whether he needs to change the care plan or continue the same. 

Dr. John: 

Indeed, the app helps patients a lot. But many times, they require immediate expert help or advice in the case of any sudden alarming symptoms. 

Me: 

(I smiled as Dr. John was still somehow not ready to believe in ‘tech magic’!) 

The chronic care management app or telemedicine for chronic care can help patients in emergency situations too. 

Here is how: 

  • The app allows patients to have a video call with physicians within minutes. 
  • If the physician is not available, the app’s built-in virtual assistant which is pre-programmed and works on AI, suggests necessary actions to patients. 
  • The app also helps patients to find the nearest hospital or call the ambulance. 

The best part of this app is that it prevents such emergency situations by automatically analyzing the patients’ medical data and alerts the patients and physicians in case it finds any worsening symptoms before it results in a life-threatening situation. 

Dr. John: 

Wow. This can actually save lives! How about developing it? How much does it cost? 

Me: 

You can develop a chronic care management tool or telemedicine app for chronic care with the following features. 

  • Medical records or logbook 
  • Reminders and notifications 
  • Self-care management 
  • Medication list and reminders 
  • Patient’s medical data graphs 
  • Video calls, chat or voice call 
  • ePrescritption 
  • Medical notes 
  • EMR/EHR integration 

Talking about cost, it is difficult to estimate as of now as it depends on several factors.

It is strongly advisable to hire professional Canadian developers who have expertise and understanding of the Canadian healthcare system and Canadian data privacy laws.

If budget is what you are worried about, you should opt-in for the MVP approach. 

It costs you very affordable as the entire concept of MVP is to build the app with useful and basic features only. 

And once you get success with it, you can add more features and upgrade the app. 

The financial risk factor is also very low in the MVP approach as you only invest more after getting initial success. 

Dr. John:

(While smiling) Are you a business consultant, healthcare app development company or compliance expert? 

Me: 

Well, our Canadian healthcare clients call us “local healthcare tech, business and compliance experts” and we are proud of it - being local!