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The Chronic Care model is a framework that describes the routine delivery of care designed to improve patient health outcomes; in the case with mHealth, the model can be used to analyze the possibility of and barriers to implementation, as it outlines the basic concepts needed for successful intervention (Mallow et al. 2014). A study by Mallow et al. (2014) aimed to apply the Chronic Care model to review the implementation of mHealth as a treatment method for type II diabetes in rural areas of the United States.
The purpose of this essay is to reflect on the use of the model by Mallow et al. (2014) and to evaluate the possibility of applying the same approach to review the implementation of mHealth to improve diabetes care in the remote areas of UAE.
The Chronic Care model
The Chronic Care model is based on the assumption that delivery of care is determined by six distinctive components: the health system, self-management support, community support, decision support, clinical information systems, and delivery system design (Mallow et al. 2014).
All of the above factors have a significant influence on treatment outcomes. The Chronic Care model is particularly relevant to conditions where patient health depends both on the provision of treatment and on patient commitment, including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. When applied to mHealth, the model helps to provide a critical overview of the factors that would affect the implementation of the scheme.
For instance, community resources and policies might affect the patients’ use of mHealth as they influence the patients’ information-seeking behavior (Mallow et al. 2014). The use of evidence-based practice and universal treatment protocols, on the other hand, can help to deliver high-quality care via mHealth technologies (Mallow et al. 2014). Overall, using the Chronic Care Model as the basis for evaluating and implementing mHealth initiatives can help to improve patient health outcomes and overcome the barriers to successful implementation.
In the UAE, diabetes is a widespread health issue: “In 2014, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reported that 19% of the UAE population of almost 9.5 million people had diabetes, the 16th highest rate in the world” (GSMA 2015, p. 2). The UAE is characterized by high internet penetration and extensive use of digital communication technologies, which makes it a suitable target for the implementation of mHealth technologies (GSMA 2015).
Nevertheless, similarly to the United States, the UAE presents certain barriers to the use of mHealth technologies. For example, the UAE lacks the universal use of the evidence-based practice, which might affect the application of mobile health initiatives (Albarrak, Abbdulrahim & Mohammed 2014). Moreover, there are also obstacles to obtaining approval for healthcare services from the Ministry of Health and cooperation with mobile operators working in the UAE (GSMA 2015).
Therefore, the implementation of mHealth services in the UAE should be part of a government scheme for improving health care provision, which would also include the improvement of evidence-based practices. Thus, applying the Chronic Care Model to the adoption of mHealth in the UAE would help to determine the possible constraints and opportunities affecting the implementation of the initiative.
Overall, Mallow et al. (2014) provide a useful example of how the application of the Chronic Care model could help to identify barriers to implementation of mHealth programs and improve their effectiveness in rural areas. The UAE could greatly benefit from the use of mHealth technologies to assist in the treatment of diabetes in remote communities. Therefore, applying the Chronic Care Model to the implementation of mHealth in the UAE would help to plan and introduce the intervention successfully.
Albarrak, AI, Abbdulrahim, SAA & Mohammed, R 2014, ‘Evaluating factors affecting the implementation of evidence based medicine in primary healthcare centers in Dubai’, Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. 22, no. 3, pp.207-212.
GSMA 2015, Mobile: a key enabler of public health strategies in the Gulf. Web.
Mallow, JA, Theeke, LA, Barnes, ER, Whetsel, T & Mallow, BK 2014, ‘Using mHealth tools to improve rural diabetes care guided by the chronic care model’, Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 43-65.