No matter how great an app or device may be, it will be difficult for any developer to be successful if they don’t get some level of buy in from physicians in general. People will always resort back to their physician when it comes to the quality of medical products.
In keeping with that train of thought, David Lee Scher, MD wrote an excellent article for mHIMSS.org entitled, What will it take for physicians to adopt mHealth? It takes a great look at a few important ways to get physicians onboard with mHealth. The full article can be found at the above link, but I will just look at a couple of his main points and share my thoughts.
Increase the awareness of mHealth technologies with physicians.
It is amazing how unaware some people are of the technology available even in their own industry. Some of that may be due to the sheer magnitude of offerings and not wanting to take the time to find the quality products.
As is mentioned in the article, professional word of mouth may be the most valuable method here. Whether it be conferences or professional journals, it doesn’t really matter. What is important is that doctors get reliable information from sources they can trust. I’m not talking about the kool-aid the developers themselves sell, but legitimate information concerning the value of these products.
Technologies that will decrease work burden.
This is incredibly important, as no one will be interested in adopting something that gives them more work to do. This may seem obvious, but can easily be overlooked. It’s great that an app can provide all kinds of new information, but if it requires the user to do even more work to use that information they will quickly be turned off.
The adoption of mHealth directly by insurers and/or hospitals.
This may be the most important step. Money is the driving force of almost any industry, and in healthcare insurers are where the real money is. Insurers need to be sold on the fact that mHealth technologies can actually save them money in the long run. When that happens insurers will be willing to pay the reimbursements and everyone will win.
mHealth has the ability to be a disruptive technology in healthcare, the likes of which we have probably not seen in my lifetime. I think we are only scratching the surface of what mHealth can do, and we will not get much deeper if physicians are unwilling to make it an essential part of the medicine they practice.