A personal health application (PHA) is a consumer-centric information system that helps improve healthcare delivery, self-management and wellness by providing clear and complete information, which increases understanding, competence and awareness.
The objectives of a PHA are to inform, empower and enable consumers to make better decisions and act responsibly. This includes enabling consumers to:
- Be helpful and proactive in managing their health, rather than passive and reactive.
- Make wise decisions when agreeing to specific treatment options and living health lifestyles
- Carry out strategies for remaining healthy longer
- Comply with plans of care when ill to speed recovery, avoid complications, and achieve the best possible quality of life
- Deal effectively with personal problems and life stressor to maximize one's overall well-being.
Implications of PHAs
- Incorporate sick-care data currently found in electronic health records (EHRs) used by healthcare providers and personal health records (PHRs), and add well-care data focusing on prevention, self-management, and emotional well-being
- Give a high-definition, big picture, whole-person view of a person's physiological & psychological risk factors, current health, health trends, and projected health status.
- Reveal the interventions that are effective for an individual by integrating and analyzing a lifetime of data about health status & quality of life, conventional and complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) treatments received, and the clinical outcomes of that care.
- Enable the exchange of patient data with providers' EHRs, as well as obtaining data directly from lab, pharmacy or hospital systems.
Whereas today's PHRs present narrow views of a person's general health information, PHAs would provide clear, comprehensive views of the whole person-mind, body, spirit and environment-showing risk factors, current health status, health trends, and projected one's future health status. Revealing such trends and predicting one's health condition under different scenarios can be powerful motivators for health living, as well as offering important clinical insights for healthcare providers.
Furthermore, PHRs do little to inform a person about treatment efficacy and the value of CAM approaches. PHAs, on the other hand, would provide this information by collecting and analyzing a lifetime of detailed health data to show what works for the person and what doesn't.
PHAs also bridge well-care and sick-care:
- Sick-care focuses on the treatment of diagnosed physical & psychological problems
- Well-care focuses on preventing serious illnesses and complications, and increasing people's well-being and quality of life through self-management and healthy lifestyles.