How Are Cell Phones Improving Chronic Disease Management?

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One of the key ways that these lessons are being translated back to Baltimore is in enabling clinicians and community health providers engage members of the community to be able to go house to house and engage individuals in conversation, allow them to access information that we make available through various networks.

Enroll pregnant women in services that provide them text message-based information over the course of their pregnancy, is a strategy that's now evolved into a national program that's been used across the US, in numerous clinics world wide. One of the things that we're looking at right now are what we call the social determinants of health.

We talked earlier about the challenges of navigating a complex health ecosystem, patients who come in with an acute problem often have many underlying chronic disease conditions that have to be managed as part of their care and so enabling us to engage those, to provide tools to those clients to help them navigate that complex medical ecosystem.

To know where and when they can get other social services I think is our tools that we're currently developing and using. But then there is also I think innovations in how we're addressing the complex problem of drug abuse, and management of HIV in these communities. One of our colleagues at Hopkins is using this technique call ecologic momentary assessment.

Sounds very complex, but basically it's using the power of a cellphone to be aware of where a patient at high risk may be during the course of the day, and allowing them to provide feedback to their providers of when they have drug cravings and when they actually use drugs. So that you now have access to information which we were surprised to see the extent to which those patients engaged in this research were willing to provide that information to us.

Opening up again that window of opportunity for us to act and help improve that person's ability to manage those conditions and those addictions.