Science News
from research organizations

Mobile app with evidence-based decision support diagnoses more obesity, smoking, and depression

Date:
February 19, 2015
Source:
Columbia University School of Nursing
Summary:
Smartphones and tablets may hold the key to getting more nurses to diagnose patients with chronic health issues like obesity, smoking, and depression -- three of the leading causes of preventable death and disability.
Share:
FULL STORY

Smartphones and tablets may hold the key to getting more nurses to diagnose patients with chronic health issues like obesity, smoking, and depression -- three of the leading causes of preventable death and disability. Mobile devices loaded with a custom app that prompts clinicians to follow evidence-based guidelines to make treatment decisions and document care plans makes nurses significantly more likely identify these health issues during routine exams, according to a study from Columbia University School of Nursing published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners.

"What clinicians need is decision support tools that fit into their workflow and remind them of evidence-based practices," says lead study author Suzanne Bakken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, Alumni Professor of Nursing and Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia Nursing. "Our app focused specifically on the work that nurse practitioners do to identify health problems, counsel patients, and coordinate care plans, resulting in higher diagnosis rates and more opportunities for intervention."

The study evaluated diagnosis rates for tobacco use, adult and pediatric depression, and obesity during 34,349 patient exams conducted by 363 registered nurses enrolled in nurse practitioner programs at Columbia Nursing. Students were randomly assigned to use mobile apps with or without decision support for guideline-based care.

For each of the health issues studied, mobile apps with decision support features resulted in significantly higher diagnosis rates than apps with only bare-bones tools for recording results from a patient exam. Increased diagnosis rates with decision support were:

* Seven times more obese and overweight (33.9% vs. 4.8%)

* Five times more tobacco use (11.9% versus 2.3%)

* 44 times more adult depression (8.8% versus 0.2%)

* Four times more pediatric depression (4.6% versus 1.1%)

The app may have worked because, unlike software aimed at physicians that focuses more on diagnostic codes needed for medical billing, it prompted nurse practitioners to follow evidence-based clinical guidelines to screen, diagnose, and manage specific conditions and encouraged detailed conversations with patients about their health, Bakken says.

For tobacco screening, for example, the app prompted nurses to ask not just about cigarettes but also about other products such as chewing tobacco. To diagnose patients who are overweight or obese, the app calculated body-mass-index to quickly pinpoint people who might benefit from weight-loss counseling and other interventions. And with depression, the app prompted nurses to ask a series of questions to make it easier to identify patients with depressive symptoms.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Columbia University School of Nursing. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Suzanne Bakken, PhD, RN, Haomiao Jia, PhD, Elizabeth S. Chen, PhD, Jeeyae Choi, PhD, RN, Rita Marie John, DNP, EdD, Nam-Ju Lee, PhD, RN, Eneida Mendonca, MD, PhD, William Dan Roberts, PhD, RN, Olivia Velez, PhD, RN, Leanne M. Currie, PhD, RN. The Effect of a Mobile Health Decision Support System on Diagnosis and Management of Obesity, Tobacco Use, and Depression in Adults and Children. Journal for Nurse Practitioners, November/December 2014

Cite This Page:

Columbia University School of Nursing. "Mobile app with evidence-based decision support diagnoses more obesity, smoking, and depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219112435.htm>.
Columbia University School of Nursing. (2015, February 19). Mobile app with evidence-based decision support diagnoses more obesity, smoking, and depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219112435.htm
Columbia University School of Nursing. "Mobile app with evidence-based decision support diagnoses more obesity, smoking, and depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219112435.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

RELATED STORIES