Mobile and digital technology is an integral part of people’s lives, and it is increasingly playing an important role in our health care. According to a recent Pew Research studyi, 62 percent of smartphone owners have used their phone in the last year to look up information about a health condition. Additionally, the number of people who use mobile health apps is on the riseii, recently doubling from 16 percent in 2014 to 33 percent in 2016.
So how exactly are digital instruments helping us better manage our health? Here are some of the ways these tools are driving health care innovation.
Helping People Improve Medication Adherence Through Digital Tools
Improving medication adherence leads to better patient health outcomes and reduced health care costs for the patient, and more broadly, our health care system. According to research conducted by the CVS Health Research Institute, for example, digital and online tools can play an important role in improving adherence, and reducing costs as a result. Specifically, among CVS Caremark® members with common chronic conditions, 10 percent more members improved their medication adherence to optimal levels after enrolling online at Caremark.com compared with members who did not enroll – a cost savings of up to $2.3 million per 100,000 registered users.
Better Managing Medications with Mobile Technology and Apps
Mobile tools can play an important role in making prescriptions easier and more convenient to fill. In a CVS Health poll conducted by Morning Consult, 35 percent of respondents would be more likely to fill their prescription more often if they received automatic reminders on their mobile phone upon entering a pharmacy or retail store. The poll also showed that people value convenience when using tools to manage their health, making it all the more important that digital tools are easy to use.
Understanding these drivers, companies like CVS Health offer a number of digital pharmacy tools that aim to make health and medication management easier for customers. For example, CVS Health recently launched a mobile prescription pickup tool that enables customers to share personal and payment information through a mobile app for faster, more secure prescription processing. In addition, customers can use MedRemind through the CVS Pharmacy app to help take their prescriptions at the right time, notify caregivers when they have missed a dose, and receive push notifications and text reminders for when their prescriptions are ready to pick up in-store.
While significant strides have been made, innovators have only just begun to leverage the digital medium to help individuals better manage and improve their health. With continued development, the role of mobile and digital technology promises to become even more integral to helping people on a path to better health.
i Pew Research Center. U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015. Chapter Two: Usage and Attitudes Toward Smartphones. Accessed August 2016.
ii Accenture. 2016 Survey on Patient Engagement. Research shows patients in the United States want a heavy dose of digital. Accessed August 2016.