Technology has been implemented to improve patient medication adherence and promote healthy behaviours, reducing cardiovascular disease risk. An evaluation of this eHealth initiative has been proposed that will evaluate its effectiveness and determine how to optimize its performance.
As technology improves, it will positively affect our ability to both treat disease and prevent it. Creating a more accessible and robust patient tracking system will allow for patients to be more involved in their healthcare, encouraging them to follow advice more effectively. Clinicians will also be able to monitor changes in patient status more closely and react to changes in health quicker, reducing risks of complication and mortality. Researchers also hope that increasing patient involvement and education in healthcare will promote healthy lifestyle changes that will reduce risk of contracting disease.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death and health care expenditures worldwide. Many of its risk factors can be managed by making lifestyle changes such as weight loss, an improved diet and increased physical exercise. Researchers expect that by increasing patient engagement through eHealth initiatives, patients will be more likely to make behavioural changes that will reduce their risk of CVD. It is important to identify what aspects of these eHealth programs are most important and can be altered to maximize behavioural changes.
In a new paper published in BMJ, Coorey et al. outline a plan to evaluate the effectiveness of an eHealth program on altering patient behaviour and improving health. They plan to use a patient-focused web application providing information on patient’s risk for CVD, interactive tools, optional health-related notifications and recommendations, interactive goal setting and tracking, and a social media board. Researchers will gather data on the resources required for the application, patient interaction with the application through metrics such as number of times accessing the program and time spent per visit, and changes in patient health. They will also gather qualitative data through interviews with both patients and general practitioners to obtain additional information on how to best institute an eHealth program.
Researchers hope that through this analysis, insight can be gained as to how eHealth initiatives can be used to aid in patient health. The hope is that by increasing patient engagement, preventative behavioural habits can be promoted that decrease the risk of mortality due to illnesses such as CVD.
Written By: Wesley Tin, BMSc