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Apps are a good way to remind patients to get vaccines, and educate them on ways to self-manage their chronic asthma and allergies. This is according to researchers at the National Association of Paediatric Nurse Practitioners 2013 Annual Meeting, who believe that smartphone apps are becoming an increasingly viable solution to overcome gaps in traditional patient reminder systems, and a useful patient education tool.
The problem with traditional vaccine outreach reminder methods, such as telephone calls, mailed paper reminders, and in-person home visits, is that they are dependent on the reliability of your patient contact information. According to Jessica L. Peck, DNP, RN, MSN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, of Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama, ‘Providers have expressed a need for alternative recall methods that are not so time, labour and financially intensive. With 194 US smart phone users projected by the year 2015, the opportunity to harness technology for this purpose is present.’
Kathy Chojnacki RN, MSN, CPNP-AC, and Jodi Shroba RN, MSN, CPNP, both of Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri, cited another wellness benefit that apps provide; improving health literacy among patients with chronic asthma and allergies. They wrote in a poster session, ‘Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are become more cost effective and more readily available forms of electronic communication. The healthcare system is primed and ready to utilize these devices in clinical practice.’
For their poster, Chojnacki and Shroba assessed the overall benefits and limitations of several apps for allergy, asthma and rhinitis, as well as exploring opportunities for integrating mobile technology into clinical practice. The AshtmaMD app revealed several benefits to asthmatic wellness, providing methods that patients can use to reduce symptomatic days, asthma-related ER visits, rescue therapy use and need for inhaler use to provide symptom relief.
However, some of the apps used inaccurate or incomplete medical information from online sources, had a lack of wireless internet capabilities, reduced face-to-face interactions between providers and patients and were deemed to be too costly to implement in institution-wide systems. Yet, in spite of these concerns, the authors concluded ‘the increased use of smart phones and mobile devices provide the perfect climate for integration of applications into patient care.’