Carolinas HealthCare deploys tracker app to manage health device data

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Carolinas HealthCare System has deployed a mobile app that collects data from patient mobile devices, tracks and monitors vital signs and activities and allows users to share that data with care providers.

The MyCarolinas Tracker, available for iOS and Android smartphones, is aimed at helping patients pull together data from over 70 devices such as fitness trackers, scales, heart rate and blood pressure monitors, which track everything from a user's activity to blood sugar level to nutrition. It enables users to send their data to a patient portal for secure storage, creates a data report to share with providers and family and tracks data over a specific period of time. Consumers not using a Carolinas HealthCare System provider can use a consumer version of the app, Carolinas Tracker, which provides much of the same features as the subscriber version.

"It's one thing to collect all your steps on your phone," Greg Weidner, medical director of the Carolinas HealthCare System Proactive Health group, said in an announcement. "It's quite another to provide the clinical explanation and connection to the provider. With this tool, our care managers can see what's going on with the patient in between visits. We have a better sense of what's going well and what areas need extra attention."

While such apps make it easier for patients and doctors to share data in real-time and approach healthcare in a proactive fashion, there is also an opportunity to reduce healthcare costs while boosting care levels. Yet many hospitals are not jumping on the bandwagon due to security, privacy and data protection challenges. A recent Accenture report noted healthcare providers are "woefully inadequate" in offering consumers mobile apps, with hospitals engaging less than 2 percent of patients with such tools, despite the fact that 54 percent of consumers want to use a smartphone to interact with their providers.

The Carolinas HealthCare System deployment comes on the heels of news that New York-Presbyterian Hospital and its Regional Hospital Network are readying a new mobile app to boost communication and access to care providers and the hospital center.

"The future of healthcare is to actively engage the patient or consumer," Carolinas CIO Craig Richardville said in the announcement. "Patients are demanding that they have tools to better help them manage their own health status in a meaningful way. Carolinas HealthCare System is committed to leveraging the technology to do that."

 For more information:
- read the announcement

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