Elderly healthcare is an integral part of the entire primary healthcare system. The School of Nursing of PolyU has launched a pilot mHealth health management mobile app with interactive nursing support. Research data shows the app empowers the elderly to monitor their chronic diseases and mental health conditions. 


The mHealth app is jointly developed by The School of Nursing and a local telecommunications company to help monitor the health condition of the elderly. When an abnormal vital sign (such as blood pressure, or blood glucose level) is detected, a registered nurse will be notified via the app and will contact the elderly person to understand their health condition.


Another highlight of the mHealth app is the 24-hour nurse interaction function. By tapping one button in the app, the elderly can make a video call to a registered nurse to support and evaluate their health and mental condition.


Dr Arkers Wong, Assistant Professor of The School of Nursing of PolyU, who led the project, says that there was a significant increase in self-efficacy, a significant decrease in the level of depression, a reduction in the use of medical services, and an improvement in the quality of life in physical aspects, after the elderly used the app for three to six months.


The study’s findings were derived from examining 221 elderly persons aged 60 or above with at least one chronic condition, including hypertension, pain or diabetes. 


“There was a significant reduction in the unplanned use of health services and unplanned visits to general practitioners by 76% and 72% respectively, after the elderly used the mHealth app with nursing support for three months. This illustrates that the approach of combining nursing support and digital technology can relieve the pressure brought about by the rising demand for public medical services, helping to achieve the goals set out in the government’s Primary Healthcare Blueprint to improve the overall health condition of the elderly,” Dr Wong said.


Moving forward, the research and development team will enhance the app, adding functions such as artificial intelligence, and incorporating content that is more suitable for the needs and preferences of the elderly so that they will continue to use the app, which will help reduce public medical expenses.