It looks like I might have been wrong about mobile health really cropping up at HIMSS15. Then again, maybe I just missed a bunch of them in the mass of attendees that were at the event. Plus, I knew that I’d see the mobile health related companies at mHealth Summit, Connected Health Symposium, Health 2.0 or CES sooner or later. So, I was more interested in the non mobile health related companies at HIMSS.
With that said, every company has some approach to mobile health. Sure, the Apple Watch announcements from Vocera, Epocrates, and Medisafe (to name just a few that I saw) are going to get the headline. Press releases with Apple Watch in their title seem to get extra attention. Press love the latest shiny object even if we have no idea whether the Apple Watch is going to be adopted by the masses (Personally I think it will be a niche device for the rich). However, there are a few mobile happenings that are worth watching.
Text – Don’t underestimate the power of text. It’s amazing what you can do with 140 characters. Of course, in healthcare you need to use secure text (SMS is not HIPAA secure). Turns out that secure text can actually provide a lot of benefits beyond SMS. I’m still very bullish on the simplicity of a text. Feels like a simple solution, but that’s what makes it beautiful. The fact we haven’t fully leveraged it also illustrates how far behind healthcare is compared to other industries.
Mobile Apps – I think there are two kinds of mobile health apps that are breaking out. First is the mobile apps that are tied to enterprise systems. This could be an EHR app or increasingly we’re seeing the population health or analytics vendors pushing the data and communication channels to mobile devices. More innovative is the wellness gaming apps that I’ve seen. I don’t think anyone’s fully cracked the nut yet, but there are some people really working on wellness motivation and behavior change. I expect we’ll see a game changer in this regard in the next 1-2 years.
Sensors – The smartphone or an iPad are becoming the brain for all of these personal health sensors. In fact, the phone is becoming a health sensor itself. Reminds me of CapsuleTech which has been putting black boxes under hospital beds for years in order to get the data from a medical device. Now we all have a “black box” in our pocket that collects and communicates our health data. Personal health sensors are exploding. Implantables is next.
Telemedicine – We want out healthcare when we want it, where we want it. Telemedicine is going to be the solution that solves that problem. Katherine Rourke has a great post up on EMR and HIPAA about the various telemedicine solutions. So, I won’t rehash those options here. However, there’s a wide spectrum of telemedicine offerings and many of them are mobile.
Those are a few of the biggest trends I see in mobile health. I’m sure there’s something I’ve missed. So, I look forward to hearing what I’ve missed in the comments below.