The Journal of mHealth Vol 1 Issue 3 (June 2014) - Page 38

Engaging Patients Using mHealth Continued from page 35 which a suitable approach for specific diseases or populations can be identified. When developing an mHealth solution for a specific disease population, in addition to understanding aspects of patient segmentation like age, disease stage and medication, we need to remember that that patients will also be at different behavioural stages. We therefore need to respond differently to a patient who is in denial of their condition, than to a patient who has accepted their condition and is trying to learn how to better manage themselves. We also need to bear in mind that once we get patients to progress from one behavioural stage to the next, they may revert back to a previous behavioural stage. For some, trying to also incorporate behavioural change into mHealth solutions might feel like a bridge too far. Perhaps this is seen as a level of complexity too difficult to incorporate on top of everything else. However, when broken down to its constituent parts, behavioural change can be incorporated into an adaptive platform. INCENTIVES At Exco InTouch we have been working to incorporate incentivisation into a patient’s goal and lifestyle management. Patients can either work towards predefined goal programmes, which might be specific to their condition or more generally around diet and exercise, or they can define their own personalised goals. Patients can then work towards these goals individually or collaboratively. In terms of patient collaboration, the universal growth of social media, software apps and gaming has made the concept and acceptance of collaborative engagement common place. This can either take the form of co-operative engagement, which might include patients working together towards a common goal, or patients working individually or in teams in competition with others. How then, do we plug incentivisation into goal and lifestyle management? For those patients starting out, 36 June 2014 they could view other existing patient’s socially shared activities, these patients would perhaps then display their own individual goals and achievements within the social environment. Patients looking to get started could then find others dealing with similar personal challenges and this acts as a powerful behavioural nudging mechanism to show what can be achieved. For those patients not wanting to engage within a patient community, they can still do their own thing and could still gain tremendous benefit from seeing other patient’s approaches and achievements. patients the right kind of support and encouragement to work towards important healthy targets is fundamental to patient engagement. We can then build on this and explore new and appropriate ways to remunerative and financial incentive. This could take the form of a reward points or voucher based system that patients can spend in specified areas. With any incentive system with monetary value, it will be important to build checks into the system to prevent fraudulent activities. This could simply be a case of linking achievement to clinical outcome, for example a reduction in BMI, possibly requiring health care professional verification. Although the mechanics of a reward system can be universal, a product might need to connect into different reward programmes in different territories. I believe there is a real opportunity here for the pharmaceutical industry to consider a completely new approach to drug pricing. mHealth programmes like these can provide pharma companies anonymous real world data on patient adherence to their medication and self-management. This provides the opportunity to link reward to drug price by offering discounts to patients who achieve longer term adherence and agreed clinical and health improvements. This discount could go directly to patients who pay for their drug products in some countries or feed through to