You can lead patients to treatment, but you can't make them adhere to it. While mHealth and digital health promise to give patients greater-than-ever access and control over their own health, these solutions also risk creating more missed opportunities and expanding on healthcare's already ubiquitous behavior-change problems.
Baltimore-based WellDoc believes mHealth's greatest opportunity is in promoting positive behavior change in patients, and it intends to prove it by attacking the Godzilla of all chronic diseases: diabetes. The company's BlueStar program uses a patient’s smartphone, tablet, or personal computer to monitor blood sugar and medication adherence. It also uses education and tailored coaching to encourage diabetics to keep their glucose levels in check. Patients can track their blood sugar as well as receive recommendations on meals, physical activity, and medication dosage.
But don't call BlueStar an app. WellDoc calls it a “Mobile Presciption Therpy.” It's an FDA-approved product that provides clinical decision support from doctors. BlueStar can be prescribed to a patient just like a drug and is reimbursed by insurers. Fortune 500 companies like Ford Motors have pledged to make BlueStar available to their employees, and the company is currently working to build awareness among physicians in anticipation of BlueStar's release to the market later this year.
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|Meet more agents of change in medtech at the MD&M East tradeshow and conference in New York City June 9–12, 2014.|