Of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States, chronic diseases account for over half. Shockingly, for the first time in history, this number exceeds the number of fatalities caused by infectious diseases. While many doctors are attempting to decrease the astounding number of deaths caused by chronic diseases by issuing medical advice during office visits, the healthcare industry has taken a new initiative. Conveniently enough, this initiative sits in the palm of your hand.
Apps for mobile phones and tablets have provided a new, easy way for patients suffering with chronic diseases to manage their conditions and guide them to healthier lifestyles. Doctors and researchers see these apps as methods of providing constructive insight toward fighting the popularity of chronic disease. By teaming the accessibility and convenience of mobile apps with their disease-fighting initiative, healthcare companies are one step closer to reducing the number of chronic deaths.
Chronic disease is one that persists for three months or longer and includes illnesses like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Companies like WellDoc and Omada are catering mobile apps to combat the causes of these diseases which most commonly include tobacco use, lack of exercise, and bad eating habits. By using the app, patients are able to monitor their health, track their progress, and even connect with a personal health coach.
While many other health apps are designed only to track calories or fitness records, WellDoc’s BlueStar and Omada’s Prevent app are designed to engage their audiences, make healthcare more accessible, and teach lifestyle changes that are enjoyable and achievable. By managing their weight, exercising, and avoiding tobacco, patients who are prone to chronic diseases or have one are able to prevent and even reverse the effects of these illnesses.
Omada reported that 64 percent of its participants are still actively using the system after a year. The company, however, hopes to have an even higher success rate by working to capture its audience’s attention the same way social media apps do. Although being sick doesn’t attract the same excitement as social media does, getting better certainly is worth the time and attention.
Not only will apps like these allow for a decrease in the number of deaths due to chronic diseases, but it will also allow people better access to healthcare while maintaining low costs. While smoking has become less popular, leading to a slight reduction in the prevalence of chronic diseases, obesity and unhealthy diets remain as lead contributors. These apps make patients more aware of the easy changes they can make to their lifestyles and keep them motivated to combat their disease.
Hopefully, these tech-savvy measures will appeal to the masses and lead to an overall reduction in the number of deaths caused by chronic illness.
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