mHealth tools for the pediatric patient-centered medical home.

Journal Title: 
Publication Date: 
Feb 11, 2014

The concept of the pediatric patient-centered medical home (PCMH) as a theory has been evolving since it was initially conceived more than 40 years ago. When the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Council on Pediatric Practice first wrote about this model, "medical home" was defined solely as the central location of a pediatric patient's medical records. Approximately two decades later, the AAP published its inaugural policy statement on this topic. Through this policy statement, the medical home was defined as a place where care for pediatric patients would be accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. Although the lack of access to providers, especially in rural communities, may inhibit the adoption of the PCMH or chronic care models, technology has evolved to the point where many of the gaps in care can be bridged. mHealth, defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the use of mobile and wireless devices to improve health outcomes, health care services, and health research, can be one specific example of how technology can address these issues. One early study has shown that patients who use mHealth tools are more likely to adhere to self-monitoring requirements and, in turn, have significantly improved outcomes. A rapidly evolving and scalable mHealth technology that has the ability to address these issues are self-management mobile applications, or apps. It has been estimated that there are currently more than 40,000 health care-related apps available. Furthermore, use of these apps is growing, as more than 50% of smartphone users surveyed responded that they have used their device to gather health information, and almost 20% of this population has at least one health care app on their device.