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“Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a smartphone app.”

Star Trek had it right, I think. While Doctor McCoy certainly relied on his trusty Tricorder to help him diagnose his patients (at least his human ones), he then used his training and experience as a physician to apply treatment. And this is happening in the year 2266.

In the same way, I don’t think mobile health applications are going to diminish the role of physicians any time soon. On the contrary, I believe that, once market conditions evolve to where industry leaders are clearly established and their technologies widely accepted, physicians will be able to do their jobs more effectively than ever before. Here’s why:

First, there’s the “Tricorder effect.” Everyone knows how unreliable human recollection and reporting is, even when it comes to things as important as diet, exercise, medication and monitoring vital signs. Mobile health devices, when used properly, don’t forget (or lie) and therefore provide the physician with a realistic set of data from which to evaluate patient status. In addition, mobile health technology will suggest diagnoses and treatment and therefore expand the physician’s knowledge and treatment choices.

Second is the reapportionment of a clinician’s time. Mobile health can cut down on time-consuming patient office visits, without diminishing the level of care. And with quicker access to more accurate patient data, a doctor can expediently determine treatment and therefore may be able to accommodate more patients – a huge plus everywhere, but especially in areas with a shortage of physicians. These increased efficiencies will also have a profound effect on the roles of other healthcare professionals.

Mobile health is presenting us with new tools. We will continue to rely on physicians for their skill in how to use these new tools.

 

Posted in: Digital Health, Health 2.0, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing Medical Devices, Medical Device Marketing, Medical Devices, mHealth, Smartphones, Wellness

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Show me where it hurts

AdAge recently published a fascinating and potentially very valuable graphic. As part of their American Consumer Project, AdAge commissioned GfKMRI to combine their data on 25,000 American households through the Patchwork Nation segmenting system, which breaks down areas of the country (in this case, counties) in to 12 different kinds of community. This categorization, which includes factors such as economics, culture and politics, goes far beyond overly simplistic terms such as “blue and red” in an attempt to bring more detail and nuance to demographic information.

In this case, the result was a map of the United States that shows the prevalence of major illnesses by county. I’ve reproduced a static version of the map below. For an interactive version that reveals data by county, click here.

Prevalence Map Major Illnesses by County

I, for one, was surprised at the irregularity of illness distribution. What’s with the apparent prevalence of cancer in Northern Iowa/Southern Minnesota? I didn’t know Mormons in Utah suffered so much from ulcers. And speaking of irregularity, look at the pattern of those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome that follows a swath from Virginia through the Deep South.

The information in the map has been further augmented by a partnership with Modern Healthcare that examines how different generations want to receive health care marketing messages and the increasing relevancy of cross-generational caregivers. A summary is included in white paper available here.

This data should prove extremely useful for medical device and medical technology companies (i.e. digital health/mHealth) in their efforts to more effectively target their efforts in prevention and disease treatment.

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Digital Health, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Medical Devices, Medical Device Marketing, Medical Devices, mHealth, Smartphones, Uncategorized, Wellness

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