Recent research suggests that a system incorporating a smartphone app may help young adults with spina bifida to improve their daily self-management skills.

The study, published recently in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation—the official journal of the Association of Academic Physiatrists—discussed the “iMHere (interactive Mobile Health & Rehabilitation) system for use in patients with spina bifida, according to a media release from Wolters Kluwer Health.

The randomized pilot study, led by Brad E. Dicianno, MD, of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, evaluated the iMHere system in 23 patients—aged 18 to 40—who had myelomeningocele, which is the most severe type of spina bifida.

One group of patients received the experimental iMHere system, which combined a suite of smartphone modules and a web-based portal for healthcare providers, linked by a two-way communication system. The modules were tailored to the key issues of spina bifida self-management, including information on medications, reminders to perform important daily self-care activities, and monitoring of mood and depression symptoms.

The other group of patients received routine spina bifida care and follow-up. After one year, use of the iMHere system and self-management skills were compared between groups, along with other key outcomes, the release explains.

According to the study, the patients met or exceeded expected levels of use of the iMHere system. Also, they were most likely to use modules that reminded them to perform self care steps that occurred less than every day; and to remind them to take medications, which changed frequently.

The higher use of reminders did not decrease the rate of events requiring medical attention. However, patients who were high users of the iMHere system gained new independence in certain spina bifida self-management skills. All types of medical events tended to be less common for patients using iMHere, although the differences were not significant, per the release.

[Source(s): Wolters Kluwer Health, EurekAlert]