Despite exciting new technology, there are still barriers for health professionals to overcome in behavior intervention. In one study, Dr. Iversen and her colleagues followed 1,108 adults with RA for four years and found that even when some patients had low disease activity, they did not engage in physical activity. Technology may offer health professionals more tools to reach these patients with reminders, she said.
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So, what factors may influence the success of a web-based or mobile health program? “Trust in the program is important. Reliability and functionality needs to be addressed up front or you lose participation and they don’t rejoin the program,” Dr. Iversen said. It is important for the development of new health technology to be a collaborative effort, so the tools are more effective, she concluded.
“Usually, at the point when they are designing prototypes is when the patient and clinician are brought in to give feedback,” she said. Evaluations of the products after launch are needed as well, she added. “Healthcare professionals need to be involved in development early in the process, before the prototype and testing stage.”
Susan Bernstein is a writer based in Atlanta.
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