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Mobile Health App Use Continuing to Increase

More than one-third of doctors recommended mobile health apps to their patients in past year

TUESDAY, March 31, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The number of mobile health apps is continuing to increase and doctors are embracing this trend, with more than one-third of physicians recommending their use in the past year, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Noting that there are more than 40,000 health-related apps available, the lack of evidence to support apps means most doctors are unsure which ones to prescribe. However, the lack of evidence of clinical effectiveness doesn’t prevent doctors from recommending apps to help patients exercise, diet, or quit smoking. Clinical effectiveness evidence is important for physicians who are considering prescribing apps to patients with chronic diseases.

According to the article, in the coming years, most apps and devices that help doctors diagnose and treat patients will undergo clinical trials to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Meanwhile, many doctors are happy to try apps that could help their patients with chronic diseases. Doctors should use apps judiciously so they are not overwhelmed with data; they will need to find ways to screen the information gathered and accommodate it in their workflow.

“Forty percent of physicians now believe that digital communications technologies of various kinds — including mobile apps, remote patient monitoring, secure messaging via patient portals, and telehealth consults — can help improve patient outcomes,” according to the article.

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