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“The potential for mHealth to lead to the complete re-engineering of healthcare is limited by only two things: our imagination, and more immediately pressing, the need for direct evidence to guide its implementation.”

-Steven Steinhubl

OBJECTIVES

  • Describe how mobility and connectivity are the new context for care.

  • Preview opportunities for mobile health solutions to lower healthcare costs.

  • Describe how mobile health technologies are converging with the fields of systems biology, genetics, and genomics to support co-producing precise, individualized, and personalized health.

  • Identify current practices and challenges for adoption and scale of mobile health solutions, for consumers, nursing, and collaborative care teams.

INTRODUCTION

Our mobile lifestyle is the new context of care for patients, families, care team providers, diverse care settings, and payers. Connected and mobile health innovations are catalyzing rich and alternative care-delivery models to complement the place-based care model around which we have organized so much of our workplace, technology, clinical practices, and education. These innovations offer promise within an individual care setting and its reach, and among care settings, providers, consumers, and community resources.

A growing cadre of U.S. patients—alternatively called “consumers,” “caregivers,” or “health citizens”—are engaging in their own health and healthcare, as well as the health of people that they care for, in historically unprecedented ways through the use of personal health information technology (PHIT). Adoption of PHIT is enabled by the convergence of social and economic forces including the following:

  • A growing dependency on digital and mobile technologies in everyday life

  • Expectations for real-time access to traditional place-based and virtual health services

  • Increased clinical and financial responsibilities for patients

  • Pressure on providers to transition from episodic to value-based and population health focus

  • Significant regulatory and legislative mandates

Experience with these mobile and personal health technologies is early, yet we are catalyzing a multidimensional and relational collaborative care ecosystem. We are engaging patients, caregivers, and families as equal partners within the care team, at not only the health home but also where they work and live. We recognize that health is social and a function of participation. Outcomes are realized when patients and their family caregivers can incorporate health self-care into daily activities and are empowered to share care planning, decision-making, and outcomes evaluation with transparency. Mobile health and connected care solutions offer a tapestry of options to connect and support consumers in more active choices about health services, location, and timing of care. Goldstein and Masters (2014) described the mobile phone as a life management tool—a computer in our pocket—that can support fitness, health, and healthcare anywhere and anytime a person has his or her device activated.

Connecting care, caring, and healthcare interventions comprises one of our fundamental accountabilities as nurses. We are experts in coordinating care and advocating for continuity across settings, communities, and lifetimes. Mobile and connected health innovation now offers us the opportunity to step into leadership ...

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