The use of technology in healthcare has increased dramatically in the past few years. Aside from advancing the precision and quality of medicine physicians can provide, technology can empower patients to care for their own health.

Perhaps the most popular use of technology today is the development of phone apps that allow patients to learn about their health, monitor their symptoms, treat some conditions, and so forth.

Some medical conditions are, of course, ‘better suited’ to this. For example, patients have been using apps for diabetes for years. App functionalities range from allowing patients to sync their glucometers with their apps to learn about healthy lifestyle choices or track their intake.

Others include hypnotherapy for health conditions such as IBS. The Nerva app allows patients to follow a six-week hypnotherapy program, track their symptoms, and connect this data to their healthcare provider.

Other apps help patients monitor their blood pressure, track their mood, journal their emotions, time their ovulation, and more. Apps that help patients with their health conditions are certainly a popular choice because they enable them to take control of their healthcare.

However, before sending a patient off with a recommendation to use an app for their health, physicians must know how to counsel their patients about using the app. By taking the time to educate patients about the app, how to use it, its benefits, and risks, you are increasing the likelihood that they will benefit from it.

This is not exclusive to apps - there is evidence that highlights the importance of physicians educating patients about resources and how to use them to optimize their health.

Educating your patients

While some aspects of app use can seem straightforward, it is always best to assume the patient has little or no previous experience. Here are some useful talking points:

Download

Where can they download the app? Is it available for all or only certain types of devices (App Store for Apple, Google for Androids)

Cost

Is it free? Is there a free trial available, without obligation? Does the provider have a referral code that might give patients a discount?

Content

What does the app provide? Is it an app that strictly provides education in the form of written content? Are there any videos or pictures to facilitate learning?

Tools

Does the app teach specific coping or management skills for the condition, such as meditation or mindfulness? Are there audio files in the app that help the patient develop them?

Evidence

Is the app based on a certain methodology? Is there medical evidence to support the app's usage in this health condition? If so, how does this compare to other treatments or methods?

Program

Does the app require the patient to use it daily or weekly? How long does the app need to be used to see improvement? Do patients have an option to track their symptoms, relevant information or trends, feelings?

Usability

How easy is the app to navigate? Do patients need to be ‘savvy’ to use it? Does it save progress? Can information be shared with a physician, and if so, how?

Quiz: Could hypnosis help you quit smoking?
Take the Quiz
Quit smoking with hypnotherapy
Calm cravings
Manage withdrawal symptoms
Science-backed
Quit Now
Evia Fact Sheet
Evia Fact Sheet
Evia Fact Sheet

Calm your IBS in 6 weeks

Take our free assessment to discover if Nerva can work for you.

✅ 89% success rate
✅ 50,000+ people helped
✅ Created by Dr Simone Peters
❌ No appointments or waitlists
❌ No drugs or diet change

Start

Hot Flash Relief

Manage your hot flashes in just 5 weeks.

✅ Science-backed & effective
✅ Natural & safe option
✅ Created by Dr Elkins
❌ No appointments or waitlists
❌ No medications

Learn more

Hypnotherapy

Unlock the power of your mind and embrace better health.

Find out how

Refer, monitor and grow

A free and easy way to refer patients to digital hypnotherapy programs.

Let's Connect
Take the IBS Quiz
Experiencing bloating? Gut pain? Diarrhea? Constipation? Take the quiz to see if your symptoms are consistent with IBS.
Take the quiz
Download your free guide to managing IBS with hypnotherapy
Calm IBS related pain
Break the stress-IBS cycle
Manage IBS symptoms without diets or drugs
Download Now
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Take our free assessment to discover if hypnotherapy can work for you.
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Start assessment
Fix the miscommunication between your gut and brain
Manage IBS with gut-directed hypnotherapy
50,000+ people helped
A calmer gut and mind
Start free trial
Manage hot flashes in just five weeks
Hormone free
Low risk
Evidence based
Start Now
Manage hot flashes without hormones
App based
Low risk
Evidence based
Start Now
Sleep better, without hormones
App based
Low risk
Evidence based
Start Now
Receive your Clinician Pack
Full access to our apps, white papers, and more
Referral scripts with a 15% discount
Free discovery call with our health specialists
Get your pack now
Interested in hypnotherapy?
Learn how hypnotherapy works on the brain and how it is changing healthcare.
Find out how

Expectations

What is the outcome of having the patient use the app? Is it to learn about their condition or to track their symptoms? Does the app have a method to help patients see their progress (check-ins, graphing data of symptoms)?

When counseling patients about the expectations and benefits of the app, it is almost critical to advise them that all patients respond differently to treatments and programs. This particular app and methodology might be effective for them, or it might not be. The important counseling point here is to ensure patients understand that the app on its own will not ‘cure’ the patient; it is one tool in their toolbox towards health. And a significant component of success is ensuring that the patient uses the app as intended to maximize its benefit.

This list is not exhaustive, but it does highlight some of the key considerations physicians should share with patients when recommending an app. This list can also be shared with patients to help them decide whether or not an app is ‘reputable’ or will be beneficial to them.

By educating patients about the app using the hints above, physicians can help patients understand more about why or how using the app will be important. Taking the time to review the topics above will increase the patient’s understanding of the app and help them make informed decisions about their treatment regimes.

Furthermore, explaining these points to patients can help address some of their questions and concerns about using the app, which can motivate them to begin using it.

Spending a few extra minutes with patients and engaging them in their healthcare can go a long way - and in this case, simply recommending a health application and reviewing a few relevant points about it can empower patients to take more control over their health. This is, of course, a key component of patient-centered healthcare: helping patients work towards better health by working together with their healthcare providers.

About Dr Marina Abdel Malak

Dr Marina Abdel Malak is a family physician in Mississauga, Canada. She has a passion for medical education, patient empowerment, and increasing awareness about the relationship between mental, emotional, and physical health. Her research interests include strategies to support physician wellness, patient self-management, and optimizing physician education.

Talk to us about receiving your Healthcare Clinician Pack from Connect. Our educational resources and research about digital therapeutics will help you refer clients to hypnotherapy, and you’ll receive free, unlimited access to our Nerva and Evia programs.

Contents

Calm IBS in 6 weeks

Take our free assessment to discover if Nerva can work for you.

✅ 89% success rate
✅ 50,000+ people helped
✅ Created by Dr Peters

Hot Flash Relief

Manage your hot flashes in just 5 weeks.

✅  Scientifically proven
✅  Natural & safe option
✅  Created by Dr Elkins

Learn more

Hypnotherapy

Unlock the power of your mind and embrace better health.

Find out more

Refer, monitor and grow

A free and easy way to refer patients to digital hypnotherapy programs.

Let's Connect
Could it be IBS?
Take the quiz to find out.
Free guide to managing IBS with hypnotherapy
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Manage IBS with gut-directed hypnotherapy
Start free trial
Sleep better, without hormones
App based
Low risk
Evidence based
Manage hot flashes in just five weeks
Start Now
Manage hot flashes without hormones
App based
Low risk
Evidence based
Refer, monitor and grow
A free and easy way to refer patients to digital hypnotherapy programs.
Get your pack now
Interested in hypnotherapy?
Learn how hypnotherapy works on the brain and how it is changing healthcare.
Find out how
Quiz: Could hypnosis help you quit smoking?
Take the Quiz
Quit smoking with hypnotherapy
Find out how hypnotherapy can help manage your cravings and quit smoking for good.
Quit Now