Patient Generated Health Data: Benefits and Challenges

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Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) is defined as data generated by and from patients.1 The use of PGHD has rapidly increased with the widespread availability of smart phone mobile health applications (mHealth apps) and wearable devices. Currently, the vast majority of PGHD is generated via the use of mHealth apps and wearables like “Fitbit” or medical devices such as a continuous glucose monitoring device.

There are many benefits of PGHD including increased monitoring of children's chronic health conditions outside clinical care to supplement ambulatory clinic visits, improved health outcomes, increased patient awareness and engagement and improved patient-provider communication. When leveraged properly, PGHD can be a powerful tool in delivering safe, effective, patient centered, efficient and equitable care as outlined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).2

The challenges that limit collection, use and acceptance of PGHD include limited access to the internet, inability to incorporate PGHD into clinical workflows, data privacy and security concerns and apprehension about accuracy and safety of mHealth apps. These issues can lead to a lack of use or compliance with devices or apps associated with PGHD. To ensure optimal health benefits, agreement to leverage PGHD should be a joint decision between the clinician and the patient/caregiver.

Future steps to ensure safety and clinical relevance of PGHD include involving regulatory authorities, device manufacturers and professional bodies to develop standards for mHealth apps and wearables to promote uncomplicated PGHD integration into workflows, easy and secure sharing of PGHD.

Wearable technology, medical devices and smart phone apps become more advanced and widespread among the population, there will be an increasing potential for PGHD to facilitate personalized, efficient, and collaborative care resulting in improved health outcomes for children and adolescent and young adult. More research and innovation is needed to facilitate this transition.



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