One of the greatest things about technology is it is always changing, always morphing and nearly always improving on what's already in play, and nowhere is this more true than the mHealth landscape.
We've all witnessed how the smartphone is now firmly a building block for hundreds of mHealth innovations, from monitoring devices and apps tracking patient's treatment to diagnostic tech helping niche groups such as veterans and those needing psychiatric treatment. Today's smartphones are helping care providers, spurring better healthcare efforts, giving patients telehealth and mobile healthcare data access all while saving time and money.
And now smartphones may take the place of wearables as the perfect mHealth device.
Sometimes one simple answer a question can prove as compelling and relevant as an 800-word commentary, a 15-minute video interview or a six-panelist, one-hour workshop session. Case in point, a recent Forbes report in which doctors were asked how many patients had inquired about integrating data from a fitness mHealth device into their electronic patient record. As this week's article on this polling exercise points out, not too many are at all interested in connecting healthcare data activities. As the doctors indicate, more than a good majority of patients--85 percent--haven't asked the question.
The holiday season is just around the corner and everyone, except diehard procrastinators, is either well into gift buying or at least gearing up for Black Friday this week. I suspect more than a few have some sort of mHealth wearable product on the gift list and for most it's been a matter of deciphering what smartband, smartwatch or fitness wearable the exercise guru or health-conscious family member would love to get this year.
This week FierceMobileHealthcare reports on a study regarding physician recommendation of a smartphone app and the fact the prescription didn't resonate with patients. It's a unique study because it doesn't dissecting whether the app itself works in helping patients lose weight, but how patients view such software prescriptions within healthcare treatment.
The mHealth app didn't fail as a tool overall, it failed because it's didn't engage patients and encourage them to use the app on a daily and consistent basis
There is at least one person who believes the app developer community must get its collective act together and start truly innovating in mHealth software and devices. In a column at Wired, writer J.C. Herz doesn't pull any punches in making it clear she thinks software makers are the ones that need to make a dramatic strategy move if true innovation is going to happen.
Or, to put it more succinctly, she questions whether app developers and engineers will ever get off their comfy chairs making calorie-counting fitness devices and instead put needed time and energy into creating valuable tools like an app that helps aging adults dealing with memory loss.
But in her aggressive call to action she makes two big mistakes: she dismisses the formidable challenges as quickly as she grudgingly acknowledges them and she lays the blame for a lack of innovation on just one set of shoulders involved in mHealth tech.
There's a saying "better late than never" that aptly applies to the foray this past week of three big tech players into the mobile healthcare realm: Microsoft, Lenovo and HP.
There's a centuries-old saying that every cloud has a silver lining.
The silver lining I'm focusing on is the mobile health technology lessons being learned from the current Ebola virus outbreak--and how these lessons will foster greater mHealth tools and tech moving forward.
Sometimes, with all that's going on with mobile healthcare technology--from emerging tools and the stream of research reports to product development and deployment--it can be easy for tech experts to become too focused on being first and ahead of the pack rather than producing a viable and validated product.
The best aspect in serving as FierceMobileHealthcare's newsletter editor is the opportunity to talk with experts on what's happening with mHealth, devices, consumer wants and expectations and on mobile trends from app building to wearable devices.