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The best $100k anyone has spent on mobile health?

In the old story of the Tower of Babel, the people constructing a tower to the sky were stymied by a curse that made each of them speak a different language. Their inability to communicate effectively derailed the project. (And, according to some legends, explains why there are different languages in the world.)

Today, the field of mobile health applications is experiencing a similar curse. While there are zillions of applications, there is a pronounced lack of integration between them. Experts concede that while there are many innovative and useful technologies that have been and are being developed, their inability to “talk” to one another stands in the way of realizing the tremendous synergy that can come from compatibility and easy interactivity.

In an effort to encourage mobile health developers to “speak the same language,” the Heritage Provider Network, partnering with UCLA, is sponsoring a $100,000 challenge. What distinguishes this challenge is that submissions must use the open software developed by the non-profit company Open mHealth.

Rather than hindering innovation, broad agreement on

program integration was spectacularly successful

By encouraging use of open architecture software, Heritage Provider Network is hoping new applications will make it much easier for patients (especially those with multiple conditions) to record data and share it with their caregivers.

I certainly applaud this effort. I’m old enough to remember how much time I wasted with my first computer systems, hassling with “Mac vs PC” incompatibilities or Excel/Lotus and MSWord/WordPerfect conflicts. The benefits of compatibility eventually (for the most part) overcame developers’ concerns about exclusivity. Rather than hindering innovation, broad agreement on program integration was spectacularly successful in advancing the pace and efficiency of technology and was good for the market in general.

The winners of the challenge will be announced at the Health Datapalooza, being held in June in Washington D.C. It could be the best $100,000 anyone has spent on advancing mobile health initiatives.

 

 

Posted in: Digital Health, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Medical Devices, Medical Device Marketing, Medical Devices, mHealth, Patients as Healthcare Consumers, Smartphones

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Reasons To Be Optimistic

In my last blog, I commented that to convince doctors to communicate more with their patients via smartphone and smartphone apps would require three major shifts:

1. Elimination of some daily tasks the doctor currently performs, in order to allow time for him or her to tend to patients via mobile health options.

2. Clear evidence that adopting mobile health practices will be worthwhile in terms of significantly improved patient care, records administration, office procedures, etc.

3. The learning curve has to be insignificant.

I’m in marketing, and we’re an optimistic lot. We believe in the push-and-pull power of the marketplace, especially in an innovative, eager and tech-hungry nation like the U.S., and especially when the market for mHealth is experiencing explosive growth.

mHealth means money to be made and money to be saved, along with greater access to higher quality care.

While it’s true that many physicians are still mired in a paper-based world of patient records, word is finally getting around, spread by doctors who have established practices in the last few years, that an all-digital system offers extraordinary advantages in terms of time savings, accuracy, lowered administrative costs and ease of use. These benefits are so profound, and so quickly realized, that more and more doctors are biting the bullet and making the conversion.

And there are attendant benefits in terms of improved patient care. According to AlliedHealthWorld.com, with mHealth, up to two times as many rural patients can be reached by a doctor. In addition, mHealth can result in reduced hospital stays and, thanks to mobile monitoring systems, fewer office visits. It’s projected this can equate to savings of 25% or more for seniors.

So, it appears that things are trending in addressing the first two issues I said needed to change before we see wholesale adoption of mHealth as an integral part of the patient/physician relationship. That leaves only the third objection:  learning and deploying the technology. And for this, I again point to my confidence in the marketplace. mHealth application developers who make it easy, efficient and effective for doctors and patients will be rewarded with a big piece of the ever-growing pie.

 

Posted in: Digital Health, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Medical Devices, Medical Device Marketing, Medical Devices, mHealth, Patients as Healthcare Consumers, Smartphones

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