Mobile Health Interventions Have a Positive Impact on Children

June 14, 2017
January 22, 2024

Originally posted on March 21, 2017 on HealthITplus

Mobile health interventions have had a positive impact on care outcomes of patients in all age groups owing to a more connected and engaged relationship between patients and providers. A recent study has revealed that mobile health significantly impacts outcomes in children under the age of 18.For the purpose of this study, JAMA Pediatrics conducted an analysis of 37 unique studies to see the impact of mobile health on children. The findings concluded that providers need to use mobile health technology during the care process.Christopher Cushing, Co-author of the study, said, “The take-home message is that a smartphone can help a child be healthier across a number of health care behaviors, like making sure they get vaccines or eat a healthy diet. We have some idea that a smartphone and messaging can be a good way to go, but we also have a long way to go to optimize this kind of intervention.”As part of the study, every kind of mHealth technology was examined and it was found that none had any significant benefit over another.Cushing further added, “It’s worth using, and there is a lot of different media that can be used. mHealth interventions can be as simple as text messages and as complicated as a dedicated app. You can go small and send text messages for vaccine reminders or build an app that allows for diet and physical activity tracking.”The survey also found that the involvement of parents is vital to impact a positive health outcome as children are not as involved with technology when it comes to healthcare. These results not only are an eye-opener for parents, providers, & pediatricians but also helps HealthTech companies to focus their energies on developing more tools for children.Cushing noted about parents that, “If they have a young child, they could opt into a scheduling program that would allow them to see those things that are due for the child like a vaccination. For an older child, it’s appropriate for the child to take on some autonomy such as engaging with an app where they can set goals and get feedback. But the parent should be engaged in that system so they can use teachable moments. If a child isn’t sure about why they’re not meeting goals, a parent can use adult problem solving to help find an answer.”Parents can take cues from these results and speak to their pediatrics to offer similar interventions for a better outcome. On the other side, providers would also benefit from offering these tools as children are highly involved with mobile technology and would keep track of their health if motivated to do so. Thus, children would be healthier and providers would benefit from a better care process.Disclaimer: This study was conducted by JAMA Pediatrics and the full text can be found