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mHealth

The way we view healthcare is changing—patients are starting to expect more convenient options and have access to more information about their health. New technology has helped telehealth to become a reality for many patients without easy access to healthcare facilities. It has helped healthcare facilities fill gaps in specialty care via telemedicine, and has helped all patients play a larger role in their own care. However, there are still obstacles ahead of widespread telemedicine adoption that will need to be addressed in coming years. Both telemedicine and analytics are major areas of interest for healthcare IT investors, reaching $197 million (analytics) and $171 million (telehealth) in 2016. These two areas go hand in hand, as big data analytics are helping to advance telemedicine and empower both physicians and patients. Here are five ways big data is playing a role in telehealth.

Empowering clients to advocate for their own needs is a big part of what we clinicians do—whether in a more traditional therapeutic setting or in emerging telehealth contexts. And every client is different. For clients in recovery from substance abuse, for example, the individualized treatment needs are diverse. That makes it even more imperative that clients be empowered to advocate for their health.

But how do you achieve this in a telehealth setting? Below are some insights from my work with clients with substance use disorders (SUDs) and their families.

Adults with congenital heart disease have one thing in common:  loss to follow up.   Across the world, children born with congenital heart diagnoses often stop engaging with the medical system when they graduate from high school.  A lack of understanding of the need for lifelong care, no longer having parents insist on appointments, a fear of learning that something new is wrong, and just the business of life: education, work, family are all touted as potential drivers of this precipitous drop-off in cardiac care (https://professional.heart.org/professional/ScienceNews/UCM_464716_Children-with-Congenital-Heart-Disease-Are-Not-Getting-the-Follow-Up-They-Need.jsp).

It is challenging to combat these factors successfully.  However, like all consumers, there are mechanisms to re-engage adults with congenital heart disease in cardiac care: convenience and connection.  Once I recognized that, the answer was right in front of me:  Telemedicine is how I started to bring them back.

Seniors are becoming more tech savvy and digitally connected than ever before. Smartphone use has doubled in just the last four years with four in 10 seniors using this type of device. Six out of 10 seniors report using the internet, and about half of all seniors – around 24 million -- have internet access in their homes.

Today's technology does more than just make home life more convenient for seniors. It can also prolong their independence. From mobility assistive devices to ridesharing services to online social groups, here are some ways tech can keep seniors engaged, mobile and confident:

The University of Arizona Center for Rural Health is partnering with the Arizona Department of Health Services and other state agencies to train first responders to recognize opioid overdoses and to administer the drug naloxone to prevent fatalities.

The effort is funded with a four-year, $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Of the $3.1 million, $2.2 million has been awarded to the UA Center for Rural Health, at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

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