Why content plays huge role in promise of mHealth

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Mobile healthcare technology offers tremendous promise, but the lack of compelling content for engaging users and humanizing technology experiences means that promise could go unfulfilled, writes Howard Steinberg, an entrepreneur and co-founder of the Westport Innovation HUB, in a guest post at Forbes.

Describing mobile health and wearable technology as "dramatically over-hyped," Steinberg believes content plays a huge role in "converting data and analytics into emotion that engages people in new health behaviors."

"It's one thing to get fitness fanatics who already take care of themselves to adopt cool new devices," he opines. "It's an entirely different challenge to attack major health issues like diabetes among large populations historically resistant to engaging in their own care."

Steinberg's take on the future of mHealth tech is in line with a recent Accenture survey. As consumers increase their daily use of devices to track everything from work email to healthcare, companies are going to need to better the consumer experience, have a strong brand to break out in a competitive market and provide both security and privacy of information, according to the survey.

Steinberg says getting consumers to embrace and stay loyal to mHealth tech isn't about data dumps, but imaginative content that compels adoption. Some of the changes need to spur that adoption include building apps and tools the user base needs and not relying on data as the answer to every healthcare issue. Mobile health innovators must also focus on the patient and not what providers want to deliver, he says.

"Doctors and engineers must collaborate with behaviorists, content creators and marketers to pioneer new ways to engage not just with data, but with emotion," he writes. "We now have a pipeline of hardware and the highway; we just need the content for digital health to start changing the game for a mass population compromised by chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes."

Digital health philosopher John Nosta recently told Real Business that mHealth and healthcare changes ahead will be driven by those who have grown up surrounded by technology--what he calls digital natives.

"The role of the smartphone or handheld device to aid in a differential diagnosis or a clinical scenario may become much more mainstream as we see this generation of medical students graduate," Nosta says.

For more information:
- read the Forbes article

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