Peer-support, feedback and reminders keep patients using health apps

When it comes to using health apps as a part of research or health system initiatives, peer support, feedback and reminders encourage patients to keep on using the apps, according to a April 26 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Many health programs have taken to using mobile apps to keep patients engaged and immersed in their own health, as well as allowing researchers and medical professionals to monitor key health metrics. It can be difficult though to get patients to adhere to consistent usage of these apps, causing gaps in research and making it harder for physicians to track their progress.

A group of researchers looked into what things help and hinder adherence to such health apps by conducting a systematic review of 62 studies. They found that when apps had peer support networks, feedback and reminders built in, participants were more likely to stick to using the apps consistently. They also found that initiatives that included niche sample groups and offered some form of compensation also encouraged continued patient use. 

A lack of support features on the app, frequent technical difficulties and general challenges when using the app made patients less likely to stay on in the programs. 

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