Original Article

mHealth and patient generated health data: stakeholder perspectives on opportunities and barriers for transforming healthcare

Danielle C. Lavallee, Jenney R. Lee, Elizabeth Austin, Richard Bloch, Sarah O. Lawrence, Debbe McCall, Sean A. Munson, Mara B. Nery-Hurwit, Dagmar Amtmann


Background: Wearable devices, mobile health apps, and geolocation technologies place the ability to track, monitor and report data in the individuals’ hands – or on their bodies. These innovations create an opportunity for “connected health,” where individuals collect data outside of the healthcare encounter and report it to care providers. Collection of such patient-generated health data (PGHD) has the potential to impact the delivery of healthcare through remote monitoring, and by allowing patients and healthcare teams to provide targeted and efficient care that aligns with the health status of individual patients.
Methods: To understand the value and barriers associated with clinical integration of PGHD we engaged a range of stakeholders, examining their perspectives and experiences of PGHD use. We conducted open-ended interviews with healthcare consumers (patients and care partners), healthcare providers, and healthcare administrators. Open recruitment and purposive sampling were utilized to identify participants that represented the breadth of PGHD use in research and clinical care. Interview guides focused on the value and barriers of PGHD use. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for emergent themes.
Results: Themes emerged around the value of PGHD to support care decisions and improve patient-provider communication and engagement, and the promise of applying PGHD to formal care pathways and measurement-based care. Significant barriers included data validity and actionability, and the burden of integrating PGHD into existing care processes. Interviews highlighted areas for future research to better understand how PGHD can advance care transformation.
Conclusions: These findings provide rich context for understanding the experiences and needs of the individuals who interface with PGHD. Translating advances in technology and data tracking into successful clinical implementation requires understanding how stakeholders conceptualize and make use of PGHD, the potential value that PGHD can add to care, and the challenges that may limit PGHD’s promise. Our results illustrate the value and challenges associated with health-system implementation of PGHD. Efforts to increase the scale and spread of PGHD will benefit from an approach that addresses the value and challenges PGHD brings to clinical care.

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