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Building Patient Relationships: A Smartphone Application Supporting Communication Between Teenagers With Asthma and the RN Care Coordinator


CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: June 2013 - Volume 31 - Issue 6 - p 266–271
doi: 10.1097/NXN.0b013e318295e5ba
Continuing Education

Smartphone applications used in healthcare are emerging as an adjunct therapy to assist patients in self-management. Often, smartphone technology is not integrated into healthcare delivery and does not build the nurse-patient relationship, an essential mechanism to guide the patient toward health. In a pilot study using smartphones with teenagers with asthma, the application provided a method not only to share health information at the point-of-living, including health assessments, personalized health plans, and disease information, but also to allow text messaging communication between the teenager and his/her RN care coordinator. Twenty-five teenagers piloted the smartphone application and provided feedback about its use. Eighty-five percent of the teenagers responding to the end-of-pilot, semistructured interview indicated a positive change in the nurse-patient relationship. Teenagers perceived that they could ask more questions along with having improved access and quicker response times. The RN care coordinators perceived improved ability to contact teenagers and improved accuracy of assessment data. Although the pilot had several limitations, it demonstrates that smartphone technology and text messaging can further the nurse-patient relationship. For this to occur, nurses need to become involved in the development and integration of technology to focus applications on innovative ways to enhance communication in patient care.

Author Affiliations: Department of Nursing, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Kimberly Haze, MSN, MBA, RN, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905 (

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.