3 Common Missteps When Using Mobile Applications for Patient Engagement
Brad Pruitt
Brad Pruitt
Chief Medical Officer Parallel6, a PRA Health Sciences company

Brad Pruitt, executive director and chief medical officer at Parallel6, a PRA Health Sciences company, recently co-hosted a webinar on Daily Diabetes Management in the Virtual World.

After collecting survey data, Brad realized that with so many sponsors targeting mobile patient engagement and data recording with mobile apps, there are three common missteps to avoid when implementing mobile into your patient engagement and data collection strategies. Here’s what he found:

MISSTEP: Requiring patient to use multiple devices

The loudest message from the panel of patients was the request to have applications for their phones. Like most of us in our everyday lives, patients do not want to have to juggle several different devices or use software that isn’t easily downloadable, simple to use, and quick to access on their smartphones.

Simply put, too many devices are a burden.

Removing friction from a patient’s life during the study will increase both compliance, engagement, and quality of data. Implementing a patient-centric patient experience with mobile as your backbone will pay dividends.

MISSTEP: Assuming the motivation for each patient is equal

When considering motivations of patients, their engagement, and specific disease states, the patient journey must be determined at an individual level. No longer can you assume a handful of incentives will motivate the majority of the study population. Understanding what drives patient behavior will determine your engagement strategy.

Patient motivation techniques require a positive rapport between patient and provider. Effective participation tactics can include regular reminders, contests, cash, and other incentives to inspire study compliance. However, finding the right mix for your study will vary greatly based on what factors motivate your patients.

MISSTEP: Believing that the only stakeholders interested in data are the sponsors

Collecting patient engagement and clinical study data is first and foremost a priority for all sponsors. However, study participants themselves are extremely interested in seeing their own recorded data.

Popular apps like Apple Health Kit, Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, and other health-related apps have made it relatively easy for smartphone users to check their steps, macros, and other important health-related information in a matter of seconds.

Other data users are very interested in seeing are details including historic blood sugar readings, body weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and more. Delivering this information in near real-time with the ability to see trends and easily understandable visual data is of growing interest and importance to participants.

What’s more, there’s a strong interest in seeing how participants’ own data compares to that of others in the study. And even more interestingly? Patients’ competitive spirit was fired up when they told us they’d be interested in the gamification of the study to increase their compliance and drive higher quality data collection.