Published June 21 2018, 7:44am EDT
There is a lack of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of mobile healthcare interventions for improving the health outcomes of patients.
That’s the contention of Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, who holds a joint position in the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and the School of Medicine, where he chairs the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy.
“There’s just not a single study that shows that any wearable, connectable smartphone, wireless (technology) has made a difference in terms of outcomes,” Emanuel told Wednesday’s opening session of the 2018 AHIP Institute & Expo in San Diego.
In his presentation, Emanuel took to task Eric Topol, MD, director of San Diego’s Scripps Translational Science Institute and author of The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands, for his contention that smartphones will serve to “democratize healthcare,” giving patients control of their health data, which has historically been the domain of physicians.
Emanuel mocked Topol as the “guru for virtual medicine,” and whose “hidden agenda is to forget the doctor” and embrace smartphone-based medical dashboards that will help consumers track their own vital signs and overall health conditions, using that data for self-management of illness.
He pointed to a 2016 study of remote patient monitoring of heart failure patients and a 2017 study of medication adherence for patients with chronic disease—both published in JAMA Internal Medicine—that call into question the effectiveness of mobile healthcare interventions.
I suspect that what we have here is that some things are working but that it is patchy and there are still to be the successful ‘rules of engagement’ developed for mHealth. Clearly what is reflected here is a need for more evidence and better studies.
Given the present push by Apple in this area I am sure well will see some good work done over the next few years to work out what works and what doesn’t.