Apple and IBM are forging a global strategic partnership to transform business using mobile technology. A big chunk of that strategy is aimed at the healthcare sector, specifically the mobile healthcare segment.
One of the most critical aspects to mobile healthcare technology is consumer adoption and patients embracing all the emerging tools and devices. And one key to adoption is ease of use, whether it's a fitness band, a smartphone, a body fluid monitoring device or something more intricate, such as Google Glass. Ease of use is not so simple to attain, however, and it reflects the third missing puzzle piece in the mHealth innovation landscape.
There has been little mention of device makers, app developers or mHealth services surveying consumers, polling patients and asking medical professionals about what specific products are wanted and needed, and what features should be a primary focus in wearable mHealth devices.
It's nice to see the FDA finally catch up with how consumers and patients are sharing information online, especially since medical device manufacturers, pharma companies and other healthcare professionals are are doing the exact same thing.
In the past month, the top players in smartphone industry have made big moves into the mHealth device market. Apple debuted its HealthKit, which will foster data sharing across mHealth applications as well as healthcare institutions. Samsung announced a digital health initiative using open hardware and software platforms for mHealth technology advancement and innovation. And Google, whose Glass computing eyewear is already being used in healthcare setting, has been described as potentially being the "best positioned of the three to build a consumer friendly data management platform."
A new report from Rock Health on the wearables product industry and market outlook doesn't sugar coat what lies ahead for devices promising to help users manage their health and health issues. In particular, the report offers up one startling statistic: Users discard fitness bands and other wearable health devices, including smart watches, just after 15 months of use.
Given all the media hype and vendor activity, one could easily get the impression that wearable devices are flying off the shelves and consumers are clamoring for better options.
When it comes to designing, developing and building new mobile healthcare tools, many of the most successful ventures typically have one factor in common: accredited healthcare expertise.
If the past two weeks are any indication, it seems that every technology and Internet company wants in on mobile healthcare devices, apps, services. That, of course, is a very good thing for patients, providers and payers, as well as the IT industry at large. Why? First, let's look at who exactly is jumping into the mHealth pool.
Technology is a wonderful thing, except when it's not. The wireless network crashes, the PC blows up, the tablet gets a virus, smartphones go missing. And in each of those scenarios, data and access to data is potentially compromised. It's no different with mHealth devices. Smartwatches, health fitness bands, wearable monitors woven into clothing, smartphones that feature blood testing capabilities--they all collect, share and house data. We believe it will be there when we need it, we believe it will be accurate and we believe it should be infallible, given all the technological advances.
While FierceMobileHealthcare recently has reported on a slew of mobile mHealth pilot and beta programs, what hasn't hit headlines just yet is how such tools will impact day-to-day workflow for providers.