The impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases is significant worldwide. Progress in disease management has put current care models under pressure. Mobile Health solutions may constitute a solution for these changes. However, vulnerable populations groups including people with a migration or ethnic background different from the host country, people with low socio-economic status and people with low (digital) literacy skills seem to be underrepresented in mHealth research and practice.

Main body
In this editorial, we propose tailored interventions with mobile health applications on three levels including patient-related strategies, healthcare provider-related strategies and healthcare system-related strategies to solve this unmet need for patients from vulnerable populations groups with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Patient-related mobile health strategies should focus on increasing self-efficacy and enabling peer-education. Gamification could be a solution to motivate patients to use mobile health. On the level of the healthcare provider, we propose strategies including technology-enhanced learning and adaptative communication strategies, to tailor mobile health towards vulnerable populations groups with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Regarding healthcare system-related strategies, the aim is to increase minority participation in research in a cost-effective manner by remote longitudinal data tracking, using teleconsultation or remote symptom monitoring devices to ensure quality care for all patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, even in vulnerable populations groups that are normally hard to reach.

Vulnerable population groups in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases are underrepresented in mobile health research and practice. Evidence is sparce on the scale of the digital divide between patients using or not using mobile health. Interventions that directly attempt to reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations groups are needed to guarantee all patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases might be engaged in the rheumatology care of the future.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's5
TijdschriftDigital health
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 24 jan 2023


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