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The Key to Successful Health Wearables and Apps

Yesterday I took part in the Dell #DoMoreHIT Healthcare Think Tank event. This was my 4th year participating in the event which always provides a rich discussion of important health IT topics.

This year, one of the topic areas was around wearables and how wearables are part of healthcare. We had a great discussion including insights from Stacey Burr, Digital Sports Managing Director at Adidas, which I found very helpful in my understanding of how a brand like Adidas is approaching wearables.

As the discussion progressed, I made the comment that I’ve come to realize that for a wearable or health app to be extremely successful it’s going to require one of two things: Fun or Invisible.

I want to be careful on the fun angle. I’m not talking about an app that applies gamification. Sure, gamification might be part of it, but people want to have fun. If a wearable or health app can’t make something fun, then more people are going to use it. In our current society we’re spoiled by so much stimulus and so we’re always interested in new ways to have fun. If you can incorporate some health or wellness into that, then we’ll like it even more. However, we’ll keep doing it because it’s fun, not because of the health and wellness benefits.

The other option is for the wearable or health app to be invisible. Say what you want about society (and there are some notable exceptions), most people don’t care about their health. At least they don’t care enough to really do something about it. Sure, we all want to be healthy, but not enough to inspire action. I’ve seen it over and over again with apps. That’s why the health wearable or app has to be invisible and do its work without the need of intervention by the human.

Dr. Wen Dombrowski (Better known as @HealthcareWen) argued that there were other reasons too and then explained that her GPS wasn’t fun or invisible, but she used it. I think she’s right that there could be some areas where an app could provide a specific utility that could become popular. I just have yet to see that happen in the health space. Plus, what I find interesting about her GPS example is that GPS has tried to become more and more invisible as well. I love that my phone now knows my calendar and the GPS to where I’m going and tells me that I’m late and gives me an easy link to get the navigation. So, even GPS is heading the direction of invisible as well.

March 16, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HIMSS 2016 Moved from Mobility to Devices

Thinking back on a week at the HIMSS Annual Conference, I think it’s fair to say that the industry has moved beyond the smart phone and moved on to new devices. That’s not to say that mobile doesn’t matter, but mobility has just become a feature of most software the same way we talk about a cloud application. No one buys cloud, but they might look at whether the application is a cloud application. The same is true for mobility. You don’t buy mobility, but you might want to know if the application is available on mobile devices.

With that said, there are still many that use the term mobile health to describe any devices that could be used in your health. That’s a pretty broad definition since it could include apps on your smartphone, the watch on your wrist, the Fitbit in your pocket, or some other sort of sensor attached to your body in some way. This leaves off ingestibles and implantables which I guess could apply to this broad definition of mobile health as well.

I believe 2016 was a breakout year for consumer health device companies at HIMSS. While in previous years I might see a number of these consumer health device companies at CES, very few of them really had any presence at HIMSS. HIMSS 2016 had a lot of these device manufacturers with much larger presences. This includes large companies like Philips (who killed it on the #HIMSS16 hashtag) and Qualcomm (of course they acquired CapsuleTech which has always had a good presence at HIMSS), but also a large smattering of smaller device companies scattered throughout the HIMSS 2016 exhibit hall floor.

I can’t say that I saw anything new from these companies, but HIMSS isn’t really the place for them to launch new products. Most of these companies save product launches for other events like CES or Mobile World Congress. Instead, their presence at HIMSS shows an interesting evolution in the journey of these generally consumer focused health devices. HIMSS is about the healthcare enterprise. What’s still not clear to me is how many of these consumer health devices can find a foothold in the enterprise healthcare world. However, it’s notable that so many are trying.

March 9, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Should We Be Looking to Children to Learn About Remote Patient Monitoring?

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In a recent blog post, Taylor Mallory Holland wrote about how “Remote Patient Monitoring Isn’t just for Adults” including the following:

Remote patient monitoring has become a popular way for healthcare providers to ensure that patients stay healthy at home. More than two-thirds of hospitals and health systems have already deployed these solutions, according to Spyglass Consulting, mostly to monitor adults with chronic diseases.

She then went on to talk about how Children’s Health in Dallas is using Vivify Health’s care management platform and Samsung Galaxy tablets to get children out of the hospital faster, but still be able to remotely monitor their patients.

While it’s true that home health monitoring is a hot topic with the chronic, elderly patient, it might behoove us to spend a lot more time exploring the opportunities that are available with children as well. It turns out that patients that are children can teach us a lot about how to design the right software and systems to truly make a patient’s life better.

Lately it seems like every health IT solution wants to talk about patient engagement. Remote patient monitoring is the epitome of patient engagement, no? You’re literally engaging with the patient in one of their most sacred places: their home. However, one of the biggest challenges related to patient engagement is that far too many patients don’t care enough to actually engage.

This is why remote patient monitoring with children is so powerful. As a parent of four, I can attest to you that there’s nothing a parent won’t do for the health of their child. The duty and responsibility you feel for your child’s health is real. This often gets the bad rap of helicopter parent (which can be bad if taken too far), but in a healthcare situation you want a “helicopter” parent that’s totally involved in the care of their child. In fact, if we really believe in patient engagement, then we need parents that are involved and participating in the care their child receives. Luckily, most parents are totally engaged in their child’s health and that provides a tremendous opportunity for healthcare.

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t be working on remote monitoring tools for patients in every age group. Remote patient monitoring can be a valuable thing regardless of age. However, we may want to spend a bit more time looking at the way patient engagement happens with younger patients since their parents are already interested and engaged. No doubt we can apply some of those lessons and learnings to the older patient populations as well.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare

February 24, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

#HIMSS16 Mobile Health Roundup

HIMSS 2016 (or as many prefer #HIMSS16) is just around the corner. The Twitter stream for #HIMSS16 is alive and well. In fact, it’s pretty much overwhelming. However, there are nuggets full of amazingness being shared by incredible people. With that in mind, I thought this week’s post could look at interesting mobile health related tweets shared on the #HIMSS16 hashtag.


The very best mobile health apps will realize this truth. Downloads is great because it illustrates potential. However, value is created by persistent use and improved outcomes.


Unfortunately, I’m not seeing much of a culture shift in this regard. Most in healthcare are afraid to fail. In some ways that’s a good thing. In other ways, it’s hindering our progress.


My gut tells me that most mobile health vendors would fail a HIPAA audit. What do you think?


Changing behaviors is the holy grail of mobile health in my opinion. Although, it’s much harder to do it than to write about it.

February 17, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Google Fit and Other Fitness Trackers

I’ve always been intrigued by the various fitness trackers. I’ve never been that excited about their pure healthcare value, but I do believe that the amount we move (or don’t move) matters to our health. So, it makes since to track how much we move as one element of your health.

The problem I’ve had with all the fitness trackers I’ve used is that they end up in a drawer far too quick. In fact, I could never reliably wear one. My wife did better and made it a few weeks, but I just hated having a device attached to me. So, it never worked for me. (Side Note: HIMSS16 has a fitness challenge and they’re even accepting donations of fitness tracker devices you have gathering dust in your drawer.)

The closest I’ve come to a fitness tracker working for me is my cell phone. I was excited when my Samsung Galaxy S5 had the S Health app loaded on it and would track my steps and it could even do my heart rate. It was novel to see my step counts and see the trend over time. I was always excited when I’d go dancing and my step count would go through the roof and blow away all the goals that it had set for me.

I’ve since switched to the Google Nexus phone which has Google Fit built in. It has a similar step tracker and I definitely turned on Google Fit when I started with the phone. However, then I never heard or saw any notifications about it. I did’t really even realize it was on. Then, this week I got the notification from it that Google Fit was going to be disabled to save my battery since I hadn’t opened it in a long time (I can’t remember how many months they said).

What can I say? I totally forgot that it was even tracking me and it didn’t tell me that it was doing it. I do remember getting a notification or two that I’d had an active hour or something, but I’d just give myself a pat on the back and swipe off the notification. I guess that’s not considered using the app.

The other reason I probably didn’t care as much about the Google Fit tracking is that I knew that it was only tracking a small part of my movement since the cell phone is often with me, but not always. I work from home and so when I’m home I take my cell phone out of my pocket and it sits on my desk all day. That means it’s not tracking any of my movement during most days. I also play a lot of sports and I don’t want my cell phone in my pocket while I play. I guess that’s why all the Fitness trackers are these little devices that you could potentially wear while playing. Although, that feels like work and for what value?

Many have been dealing with this for years. What’s interesting is that I’ve been watching it for years as well and not much has changed. Is it nice that Google Fit is tracking my activity with almost no effort from me? Definitely, but with all the gaps in data it’s collecting, is that data really all that meaningful?

Would love to hear other people’s experiences with these trackers. Is there something new that’s changed your perspective on things?

February 10, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Health App Millionaires

The market research firm research2guidance put out this really interesting graphic of the profiles of mHealth companies. Although I find it even more interesting that they grouped the mHealth apps into Millionaires and Low Earners. Take a look:

mHealth App Millionaires Chart

The motivation section of the chart is what is most scary. The low earners want to help people and reduce costs. The mHealth millionaires want to increase sales and improve brand awareness. Is this disturbing to anyone else. I think there’s a balance of the two that can be achieved. What are your thoughts and experiences?

February 3, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The Fitness Wearable Nobody Knows About

I ran across a great article from Techcrunch that looked at the top 3 wearable vendors and they pointed out that most of us have probably never heard of the #3 wearable on that list. For those following along at home, the top 3 are Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Xiamoi Mi Band.

Everyone in the US has heard about Fitbit and the Apple Watch. However, my guess is that few in the US know about the Xiaomi Mi Band since 97% of its sales are in China. Here’s a look at the breakdown of wearable market share per the Techcrunch article linked above:

According to IDC, market leader Fitbit shipped 4.7 million wearable units in the third quarter, taking a 22.2 percent market share. Apple shipped 3.9 million units, for a 18.6 percent market share, while Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million units, or 17.4 percent of the market.

For all intents and purposes, the Xiaomi product line is very similar to the Fitbit product line. Some might even call it a knock off. The Mi Band originally started with steps, hours of sleep, and calories burned. Now the Mi Band Pulse also does heart rate. Have we heard this story before?

It’s really easy in our US centric minds to forget about what else is happening around the world. That’s particularly true of China which is one of the fastest growing wearable markets out there. I saw that first hand when I met all these Chinese digital health companies at CES. What will be interesting to watch is if and when some of these successful Chinese companies come to the US. We’ll see how they do.

January 27, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Consumer Health Devices versus Medical Devices

I think there’s a major confusion in the current health app and device marketplace right now. The problem stems from consumers who draw conclusions even though claims aren’t really being made. I’ll use an example from my Healthcare Scene blog network.

I get asked all the time what I do for a job (like I’m sure most of you). I usually say that I’m a blogger and people then ask me what I blog about. I usually answer that I blog about healthcare IT. While people’s minds are blown by the fact that I’m a professional blogger, I can see in their eyes and often hear in their response that they didn’t really understand what it meant to blog about healthcare IT.

The most common interpretation is that I blog about health and wellness. I guess in some ways I tangentially blog about health and wellness, but no doubt in these people’s minds they’re picturing me writing about nutritional supplements, diet, fitness, and other health and wellness topics that they read in their magazines or favorite blogs online.

I never told them that I blogged about health and wellness, but they often interpret it that way since they don’t know the term healthcare IT to know what I really mean. When I try to clarify it for them, I often say that I write about how doctors use technology. That usually gets them closer.

I’ve found the same thing is happening with many consumer health devices. When you say that something is a consumer health devices they immediately draw their own conclusion that it must be a medical device that can be used by consumers. Unfortunately, the reality today is that consumer health devices are very different from medical devices.

As I’ve thought about the differences, I’ve come to realize that there’s one major difference that causes a lot of problems for those that misinterpret what they’re using. A medical device produces clinically relevant data that would be accepted and trusted by a medical professional. A consumer health device might or might not. We don’t know and therefore many medical professionals won’t use that data.

I don’t think it’s a problem that these consumer health devices don’t put out clinically relevant data. There seems to be a great business model for consumers to take a peak at their health data (regardless of how accurate it is). Plus, there are plenty of anecdotal stories about how this has helped individuals. That’s great.

The problem however comes in when we try to say that a consumer health device is something that it’s not. I think we’ll see this come into sharp focus over the next few years. Consumers will finally start to understand that not all devices are created equal. They’ll realize that some devices are clinically relevant (ie. their doctor will want and care about the data) and other devices are more for fun and intrigue than they are actually improving their health. Unfortunately, it’s just going to take us a while to get there.

January 20, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Fitbit Lawsuit and Lumosity Settlement Shine Important Light on Making Health Claims

2 big announcements came out around CES that shined a light on all the pomp and circumstance that you hear at a show like CES and the Digital Health Summit. The first was Lumosity’s $2 million in refunds to settle Federal charges with the FTC for deceptive marketing practices.

The FTC commented:

“Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.”

Lumosity commented:

The company said in a statement that the FTC’s charges and the resulting settlement stem from “marketing language that has been discontinued” and that the company’s focus “has not and will not change.”

In related news was the lawsuit against Fitbit’s wrist activity tracker and its ability to track heart rates. Here’s an excerpt as reported by CBS (or you can read the full complaint):

The lawsuit filed in federal court this week claims that the wrist-based activity tracker is consistently misrecording users’ heart rates by a “very significant margin.” It also takes aim at Fitbit commercials with slogans like “Every Beat Counts” and “Know Your Heart.”

“Far from ‘counting every beat,’ the PurePulse Trackers do not and cannot consistently and accurately record wearers’ heart rates during the intense physical activity for which Fitbit expressly markets them,” the lawsuit states.

Here’s Fitbit’s response:

Fitbit stands behind our heart rate technology and strongly disagrees with the statements made in the complaint and plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit.

Some of you might have read my article where I wrote that Fitbit’s data isn’t clinically relevant. The challenge is that they give the impression that it is clinically relevant. It’s a fine line you walk when you don’t want to take the time and spend the money to do the clinical studies and FDA clearance that’s needed to make clinical claims. Anecdotal results isn’t enough. Plus, the media can take and make whatever claims they want even if you are very careful with your words.

This discussion is going to become really important as clinically relevant devices that have gone through the clinical studies and can make the claims start to hit the market. It just takes years for these studies to see the light of day. Many would argue that it’s not fast enough. They’re right. It takes forever, but you’re walking a fine line in the claims you make while you wait for the results to be published.

While we wait, Doctors will continue to use and share these various digital health solutions and offer their first hand experience using the products. It’s just a really hard balancing act when the company starts to promote these stories.

Watch for this discussion to really come into focus in 2016. Count on legislation which clarifies what’s acceptable and what’s not as well.

January 13, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Digital Health Video Blab from #CES2016

UPDATE: We had trouble finding a good internet connection at the event, so the blab didn’t work out well. However, on Friday of the event (from home), I took part in the MedHeads video chat about CES:

This week I’m excited to be attending the massive (170,000+ people) CES conference in Las Vegas. The amount of digital health at the conference is really astounding and exciting. You can check out some of our other CES Digital Health coverage on EMR and HIPAA.

On January 6th, 2016 at 2:30 PM PT (5:30 PM ET), I’m going to be a live video blab with Dr. Nick van Terheyden, CMO at Dell, from CES 2016. We’d love to have you join us and learn about what’s happening at CES and ask us anything you want. Just bookmark this page and the video blab will go live tomorrow.

I’ll also be taking part in the Digital Health Summit at CES. I’m told they’re doing a video recording of my session, so I’ll share that on Healthcare Scene in the future.

January 5, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.