Some drugs are used to increase the effectiveness of another drug, or combinations of drugs are often better than single drugs – cancer and antiviral therapies are clear examples. So can a drug and a mHealth application be more effective than the drug alone? Actually there is a simple example: using mHealth applications (apps) to improve a patient’s compliance to the required dosage schedule since only 50% of patients with chronic diseases follow treatment recommendations (see a previous post).
Can a mHealth application completely replace a drug, and be even be more effective? I think it very likely. Certainly a number of apps aim to improve health by encouraging exercise and better eating habits, which may well be more efficacious than a medication in the absence of a behavioural change. I ran across another example today that I really like.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or more properly Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Inattentive (ADHD-PI), is frequently treated with drugs, typically stimulants or non-stimulants. A problematic manifestation, typically for children in a classroom setting, is an inability to concentrate on ‘work’ due to distractibility. A student is aware of all of the conversations around them and so often wants to engage in each conversation, rather than working on an assignment Music delivered through earphones can help. But what if the conversations were filtered, most were blocked, and only a teacher’s instructions were received? This is exactly the potential of a prototype device developed by students (Tim Bouckley, Millie Clive-Smith, Mi Eun Kim and Yuta Sugawara) in the UK at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. You can get an idea of how Eidos works and might be used in the following video, which also demonstrates a visual enhancement approach: