mHealth is only PART of the solution

Medical apps are only one of three parts to sustainable success with mHealth initiatives.

Part I. Patient Engagement

There has been much research performed on mHealth, aka medical apps and what not.  A lot of it can be found on the resources page of our website and we even blogged on one spectacular result where a hospital in Boston reduced hospital re-admissions and dramatically reduced mortality by 58%.  We titled it, “If it were a drug, it would be a blockbuster.”

However, a study that hit the news today had some not-so-newsworthy results.  Patients using an app to remind them when to take their medications were not able to control high blood pressure much better than others.

These two studies highlight a key difference in the effect of mHealth for patients.  Medical apps alone don’t make a difference.  The blockbuster results come when the data that mHealth receives is actively shared with an engaged clinician, be it doctor, nurse, MA, or case manager.  In essence, the mHealth data  empowers clinicians with intel necessary to provide intervention sooner.

Part II. Clinical Review – An Active Feedback Loop

Effective mHealth not only actively engages patients, but also engages providers by calling to attention those patients trending poorly or who have crossed clinical thresholds.  This creates an active feedback loop among providers and ensures that chronic patients get the right level of attention at the right time.  CMS refers to this within their Innovation Center as ‘Connected Care.’  Tangible results reported by our clients include:

  • preventing hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations,
  • diverting ED visits,
  • halting  disease progression sooner,
  • titrating medications more effectively,
  • acheiving better control and outcomes within chronic populations

Part III. Reimbursement at Scale

The doors have to stay open and the lights have to stay on.  In addition to engaging patients through mHealth and creating a clinical feedback loops at scale, let’s also include getting paid as a third requirement for success.  CMS now has 7 CPT codes that reimburse for “connected care,” and 3 more are rumored to be on the way.   Automatically tracking and robustly reporting compliance of the metrics necessary to bill and make billing easy at scale is a third requirement to acheive success with mHealth initiatives.


Performing all three of these components at scale drives successful patient outcomes, net new revenue streams, greater patient loyalty and satisfaction, reduced stress and workload when caring for complex populations, and strong successful steps in the volume to value transition which confers further financial benefits through MACRA.  Perhaps most importantly – you will clearly differentiate yourself and your care.