One of the most challenging aspects of being a doctor or nurse is that it’s hard to know what your patients are doing once they leave your office. For example, a patient could come into your office, and after the checkup you determine that the patient is prediabetic. You tell them that in order to avoid getting diabetes, they need to change their diet, start exercising more, and lose some weight. You tell them that diabetes is quite serious, and if they get it, it’s going to drastically change their life. The problem here is that once the patient leaves, you have no idea whether or not they’re doing the things you asked them to do until they come back into the office six months, a year, or many years later. Once they’re back in your office you’ll be able to determine whether or not they’ve made any changes, but not a second sooner.
Whether a patient does what their doctor or nurse tells them is known as health compliance, and it’s a big issue in the medical field. A large number of patients won’t take their medication regularly, won’t change their behaviors, and won’t do the things that their doctor is telling them to do, and in the end they often end up getting sicker than they originally were.
This is where modern health and risk compliance technologies come in, and they’re changing the ways in which doctors and other medical professionals can track patient progress. These technologies can come in many forms, but the simplest and most effective is an application that the patient can put on their phone that reminds them of the behavior changes that they need to make. The application will send them messages throughout the day reminding them of the things they need to do, from taking medications to making sure that they’re eating the right kinds of foods. The doctors overseeing the patient can even send the patient customizable messages, and the patient can interact with the application to note whether or not they’re doing the things their doctor is asking them to do. This allows the doctor to track their progress, and it encourages the patient to remain health compliant.
Of course, this doesn’t work for all patients, and some people will find such an application rather irritating. Still, it works for a large number of patients, and test after test has shown that the percentages of patients who remain health compliant increases if applications like this are used to encourage and remind them of the things they need to be doing.
Companies like HealthAware have designed great programs that use the latest behavioral science research to help patients remain health compliant and to help doctors track the progress of their patients. The ultimate goal of these types of applications and programs is to improve the quality of life for patients and to improve the overall health of the public, and in both regards such programs have been proven to be a great success.