Study: Are mobile health interventions cost-effective?

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A study in PLOS One conducted an economic analysis to determine whether mobile health tools represent a cost-effective avenue for care.

The researchers — led by Sarah J. Iribarren, PhD, of University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle — identified 39 studies that evaluated the economic outcomes of mobile health interventions. These studies focused on primary healthcare and behavioral changes, such as outpatient clinic attendance and managing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

In 74.3 percent of studies, researchers noted that the mobile health intervention was "cost-effective, economically beneficial or cost saving at base case."

The researchers concluded that their systematic review identified a "growing body of economic evidence for mHealth interventions." However, they acknowledge that "the identified economic evaluations varied by disease or condition focus, economic outcome measurements, perspectives and were distributed unevenly geographically, limiting formal meta-analysis."

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