(HealthDay News) — A Manhattan Research survey recently found that many physicians believe digital communication technologies, including mobile apps, can be used to improve patient outcomes, according to an article published Oct. 8 in Medical Economics.

Noting that more than one-third of physicians have recommended the use of mobile health apps — mostly those related to diet and fitness — to their patients, the article discusses the “mobile revolution” in relation to health care.

Medical Economics reports that, according to the survey, only about half of the physicians who recommended apps suggested specific ones for their patients, with most doctors unsure of which ones to prescribe. Most mobile health apps focus on wellness and fitness and are suitable for patients with chronic diseases. Limited published evidence on the clinical effectiveness of mobile health apps is available; however, this information is not necessary for doctors to recommend apps that help patients exercise, diet, or quit smoking. But such evidence is essential for physicians who want to prescribe apps for chronic conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved about 100 mobile health apps so far and has issued guidance to describe the types of mobile health apps it would regulate. Forty percent of physicians believe digital communication technologies, including mobile apps, can help improve patient outcomes.

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“Physicians’ acceptance of mobile health apps and related tracking devices is clearly growing along with mobile’s influence on everyday life,” according to the article.

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