Eleven Chronic Disease Technologies to Watch

June 28, 2012

This significant report by NEHI (New England Health Policy Institute) reviews current tech trends which will impact the future of chronic disease management. The report categorizes these technologies into 4 classes based on the significant evidence supporting clinical and financial benefits. The technologies reviewed are:

  • Extended Care eVisits
  • Home Telehealth
  • In-Car Telehealth
  • Medication Adherence Tools
  • Mobile Asthma Management Tools
  • Mobile Cardiovascular Tools
  • Mobile Clinical Decision Support
  • Mobile Diabetes Management Tools
  • Social Media Promoting Health
  • Tele-Stroke Care
  • Virtual Visits

Social media for promoting health was put in class IV. They note that some “their goal is to give simple daily challenges or “micro-actions” that add up to significant health improvements over time.”  They report that their is a lack of evidence of effectiveness because they are so new and reports of success are mostly anecdotal by the vendors themselves. The exception are some studies of smoking cessation. While there may be a limited number of randomized clinical trials in the use of social media, there is a growing evidence of the effectiveness of social media in healthcare. Also, social media in healthcare is much broader than promoting health.  Online communities, apps, and Twitter are powerful tools capable of having a significant impact on managing and coping with illness. Also, increasing evidence is being published weekly in journals like Journal of Medical Internet Research and the Journal of Participatory Medicine.

Conclusion: this report has excellent analysis on several underutilized technologies in medicine but the evidence for the effectiveness of social media is stronger in my opinion.

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