Patient Engagement Expanded via Apple Smartwatch, mHealth App

Patient engagement has been a major goal of the healthcare industry in recent years, as the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs push forward patient engagement objectives in the meaningful use requirements. The mobile health field has played a role in ensuring new devices and medical technologies increase patient engagement with their health and wellness.
For example, the Apple smartwatch is being utilized to improve the patient experience, according to a press release from academic health system Nebraska Medicine. The Wisconsin-based medical software company Epic and Nebraska Medicine have partnered to support patient engagement through Apple’s wearable smartwatch.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve the satisfaction of our patients,” Michael Ash, M.D., Chief Transformation Officer at Nebraska Medicine, said in the release. “We recognize that as more of our patients use devices like the Apple Watch, we not only have to be able to use that technology to initially provide convenience for them, but we also have to envision how we can improve patient outcomes via use of the device in the future.”
Epic has taken part in pushing forward patient engagement objectives through its MyChart application on the Apple Watch, which consumers can access through the App store. Some of the possibilities of the MyChart app include the ability to securely message healthcare providers and view medication information as well as appointment details.
Additionally, the mobile health app shows consumers their billing statements, test results, and other wellness reminders via their wearable device. Currently, Epic is working on a tool for the Apple smartwatch that would “tap” users “on the wrist to get their attention.”
“It’s great to see Nebraska Medicine help lead the way on patient engagement with the Apple Watch,” Sumit Rana, Epic’s Senior Vice President for Research and Development, said in a statement. “Wearables such as the Apple Watch have great potential to empower patients as active participants in their own healthcare and wellness while improving the overall care experience.”
When the Apple Watch capability for “tap” reminders is developed, diabetic patients will receive notification to test their blood sugar on a standard schedule. The smartwatch will also be used by healthcare providers to assist patients in obtaining necessary medical services and speedier access to specialty visits.
Epic’s Fast Pass On the Go will be a special feature on the smartwatch that would allow patients who have far-off medical appointments receive an alert if an earlier slot opens up and permit them to schedule the appointment earlier.
Doctors who utilize Epic’s Haiku mobile health app through their iPhone would also be able to use the application via the Apple smartwatch. Physicians would be able to view patient scheduling information, clinical summaries, and hospitalization data as well as use Siri’s speech-to-text capability to record clinical notes or messages when replying to patients. Along with offering physicians new tools to boost their workflow, mobile health apps and wearable smartwatches are pushing forward patient engagement throughout the healthcare industry.

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