We are approaching a critical juncture in the confluence of technology and health care. Innovative use of Web-based and mobile technology is enhancing delivery of care by putting consumers at the center of their own care and allowing them to get data when and where they need it. And they and their doctors are ready for it. According to a 2010 study released by PricewaterhouseCoopers:
- Forty-two percent of consumers surveyed by the Health Research Institute said they would pay for remote monitoring devices and a monthly service fee to send data automatically to their doctors.
- About 88 percent of physicians would like their patients to be able to monitor their health on their own.
- Nearly 80 percent of Medicaid patients are texting regularly, and about 70 percent of people with two or more chronic illnesses own cell phones.
Web-based and mobile technology, critical to the future of health system transformation, is one of numerous types of innovations featured on AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Web site http://www.innovations.ahrq.gov). The site provides clinicians and researchers with opportunities for sharing, learning about, and ultimately adopting evidence-based innovations and tools suitable for a range of health care settings and patient populations.
As our cover story illustrates, patients with traumatic brain injury can instant message with their doctor to track progress and get feedback while doing memory-improvement exercises. Distressed patients can use mobile phone applications to assess their mood and access cognitive behavioral therapies to improve it at that moment. Asthma patients can track their breathing capacity and get immediate feedback from clinicians via mobile phone on how they are doing and, if necessary, instructions on medication adjustment, thus avoiding trips to the emergency department.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the work going on at AHRQ to make the most of and learn from leaders in technological, social media, and other innovations that put the patient at the center of health care. I urge clinicians to be champions of technology and innovation to make sure that we reach as many people as possible while we have the momentum for system transformation. At AHRQ we will continue to seek out and learn from private-sector innovations in care delivery that put the patient at the center of care.
Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.
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