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#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.

Mobile Health Happenings

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.

April 22, 2015 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.

Growth of mHealth – Where’s the Money?


We all know that the potential for mHealth is massive. Everyone is getting a mobile phone and there is a mobile health app for anything and everything. Although, I’ve often asked myself, where’s the money in all the mobile health adoption?

The above tweet and image creates a pretty compelling image of where you can find the money in mobile health: Services and Device Sales.

I guess this shouldn’t be surprising. It illustrates how it’s likely going to be hard to be a mobile health app that’s just an app. Instead, you have to build some people skills (ie. services) or hardware skills (ie. devices). Many people who just want to roll out an app, might want to consider this finding.

What still bothers me is that we have yet to really have a breakout app. I think it’s coming, but I’m surprised it’s not already here. What do you think will be the breakout app?

April 1, 2015 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 mHealth Tipping Point – See Angry Birds?

In a recent #HITsm chat, someone suggested that the mHealth Tipping point would be when mHealth was as addicting as Angry Birds (sorry I can’t find the tweet to give specific credit to the person). I thought about the idea. No doubt, it would be great if mHealth apps were as addicting as Angry Birds or other mobile games like it. However, I don’t think we want mHealth apps to follow a similar adoption curve to Angry Birds. In fact, I think that mHealth apps today are very much like the Angry Birds adoption curve. Here’s my response to the Angry Birds comparison.

The problem with Angry Birds is that someone uses it religiously for a while and then they kind of burn out and stop playing the game. Does that sound like mHealth apps today?

This is why I hope that mHealth apps are more like text messaging app than an Angry Birds app. A text messaging app is something you rely on and use every day. It’s something that provides ongoing value to you and so you never stop using it. It becomes an indispensable part of how you spend your day.

Plus, how many of us think about our text messaging app? You don’t download it. You don’t think, “Oh, I need to use that app.” No, you just use it all the time and other people interact with you through it as well. This is the model that the most successful mHealth apps will have to follow.

November 26, 2014 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.

Mobile Health Future Infographic

Always fun to see an infographic with interesting data. Much of this data wasn’t new, but the stat that stood out to me was 247 million Americans have downloaded a health app. That’s a lot of people involved in mobile health. Although, I bet they were pretty broad with what they considered a mobile health app.
Mobile Health Future Infographic

March 12, 2014 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.

4 Key Pillars of Effective Mobile Health

I loved this tweet from HP Healthcare on the 4 Key Pillars for effective mobile health.

 

Here are the 4 pillars for those who might not see the embedded tweet:

  • People
  • Places
  • Payment
  • Purpose

As I look through these pillars, the one that I think we’re missing most is purpose. This isn’t that we have a purpose. All of the apps have the purpose of improving someone’s health. That’s a noble purpose and they all have that as their goal. This purpose in my book means that the app actually achieves the intended purpose.

As I wrote previously, there are so many apps and so few users. The solution to this problem is creating apps that are effective at achieving their goals. An app that can move the needle, change behavior, or somehow provide tangible value to the user is one that will get many, many more users. We’re just not there yet.

Some people are concerned by this fact. I’m not. I’m excited about the potential of it all along with the amazing number of intelligent people that are working to find a solution. We’re still early in this iteration of mobile health companies and I believe we’ll see some major breakthroughs in how we look at health. However, we aren’t there yet.

February 3, 2014 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.

Breaking Down the Mobile Health Apps by Number

Dan Munro has a great blog post on Forbes that offers an overview of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report on the mobile health app market. Check out his whole article for all the findings, but I was really intrigued by his list of study results:
1. Every app categorized as “health and wellness” or “medical” in Apple’s AAPL -0.11% iTunes store was reviewed
2. Of the 43,000+ mobile health apps assessed for the report – only 23,682 were classified with a legitimate health function
3. 5 apps accounted for 15% of all downloads
4. 16,275 were considered patient facing
5. 7,407 were considered provider facing
6. Smartphone use is lowest (18%) in the 65+ demographic
7. More than 90% of the apps tested scored less than 40 on a scale of 100
8. Apps were further categorized by 7 capabilities:
– Inform (10,840 apps)
– Instruct (5,823 apps)
– Record/Capture data (5,095 apps)
– Display User entered data
– Guide
– Remind/Alert (1,357 apps)
– Communicate
– None of the 7 capabilities (1,622 apps)

I always love data and this is some interesting data. Dan’s headline was also another interesting piece of data: “Over 50% Of Mobile Health Apps Are Downloaded Less Than 500 Times.” We’ve talked about this before. It’s one thing to build a mobile health app and another thing to get someone to actually use it. Many fall short of the later objective.

One other stat in the list above that stood out to me was the split between provider facing mobile health apps and patient facing mobile health apps. I would have thought that more of them would be patient facing. That’s a lot of provider focused mobile health apps considering the size of the provider market. Of course, each of those doctors do control a lot of consumer spend.

October 31, 2013 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.

Manage Addiction Recovery on Your Smartphone

The Hazelden Foundation has put out a mobile app to help manage addiction recovery. Check out the following video to learn more:

September 20, 2013 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.

15 Ways Your Smartphone Can Make You Healthier Infographic

I’m really loving the following infographic created by Mobiquityinc.com that looks at ways your smartphone can make you healthier. The various methods listed reminded me of my previous post about the categories of mobile health apps. The infographic is a pretty comprehensive look at many of the ways a smartphone can improve health. I’m really impressed with it. If I were creating a mobile health company today, I’d take this infographic and use it to brainstorm ideas. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Behavior Change Infographic

September 5, 2013 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.

Focus on the Problem, Not the Solution

I’ve seen a regular thing happening in the mobile health space. This is particularly true when it comes to mobile health apps. A developer sits down and thinks, I bet I could make an app that can do XYZ. So, they sit down and develop the app and push it out to the app store. Yet, for some reason no one downloads and uses the app.

There are a couple reasons why this happens over and over again. First, no app markets itself. Seriously, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. It takes someone, and often a group of people, passionately marketing something everywhere they can find for an app to be successful. After an extraordinary effort, then you might start seeing those initial efforts grow into something that gets the benefit of unprovoked growth.

It’s important to realize though, that this second stage of the growth cycle will never happen if your product doesn’t actually solve someone’s problem. I’ve seen this over and over again. Someone launches an app which is a cool solution, but then after they put in the extraordinary effort to get the first users they realize that their solution doesn’t actually solve any problem.

Let me be clear that every solution solves a problem. The core question is whether anyone has the problem it solves.

For example, I’ve seen a slew of applications that do meal tracking. There are some really amazing solutions out there that track what you’ve eaten. How they handle portion sizes, calculate calories, and easily collect the information is beautiful. The question is, does someone have a problem tracking what they’re eating? No. The problem people have is trying to lose weight. Meal tracking is one thing that can assist you in that goal, but just tracking your meals doesn’t make you lose weight. If it did, those apps would have extraordinary uptake.
Note: I guess you could say some diabetics have a problem tracking what they’ve eaten, but most do that on paper and do ok. Plus, diabetics are a small subset of the larger population.

A mobile health application that solves a problem people care about will do really well. Unfortunately, far too many of them are so focused on the solution that they have to invent the problems they solve. This is amazing since healthcare has so many real problems. We don’t need people inventing problems to solve.

July 25, 2013 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.