The future of mHealth and the signs that’ll tell us we’ve made it

I had an interesting interview earlier this week with a US journalist who’s writing a piece on the “Future of mHealth”. I gave him this take away: 

“mHealth will make Healthcare invisible, self service and sold like Coca-Cola – available everywhere, the Prince and the Pauper will be able to get the same product and will be asked to pay the same for it”

The conversation went on a bit and I also tried to picture for him what it will be like when we get to this future. Here’s a summary of my thoughts on this:

> We’ll know we’re there because we won’t realise when we’re doing it

The preventative/motivational pedometer/fitness app that’s a typical feature of Japanese mobiles is a good example of this.

> We’ll know we’re there because Doctors will think it’s normal to interact with health data in the same way that patients do

This is already happening. Patients using 3G Doctor can securely share access to the EHR they are provided by their normal care provider. This enables our Doctors to better help patients but it’s a fundamental shift when you compare it to what currently still typically takes place in healthcare practice eg. Doctor phones the Hospital Radiology Department and the secretary faxes or posts the results out to their clinic.

It’s going to get disruptive when Doctors access PHR’s like patients and it will have a huge impact on the marketing efforts of Healthcare brands when their customers become the patients and the providers. Of course there are some very cool entrepreneurs who understand this change – if this interests you check out this blog:

> We’ll know we’re there because the inclusive services will be so good that everyone else will want to use them

This is already happening. Pictured below is the alarm I now use in my home and office. When I use it I get piece of mind when I’m away. But the exact same product ensures independently living elderly relatives are checked in on without being intrusive or making her feel eShackled.

Similarly a mobile phone SOS service might be designed for use by the elderly patients living alone but it’s also very useful to a rural worker who might work alone with heavy machinery, someone who works alone handling cash, a healthcare visitor who might need assistance, etc

This Mobile Phone may have been designed for those with hearing difficulties but a builder friend swears by it because the 85 Decibel ringtone means he never misses a call from a customer while working and he can enjoy his work more with the radio on.

It’s going to be disruptive when mobile services that are designed for the impaired are so good that they delight the rest of us.

> We’ll know we’re there because the democratisation of information will enable the cost of care to be the same for everyone

This is already happening and for me it’s the best bit. It’s going to continue to happen because information and ideas are free and ALL doctors will have a brilliantly detailed patient history, access to a world of clinical decision support tools and the ability to provide patients with written documentation when they consult with them:

On top of this there’ll be an ever growing world of high quality rich video resources that Doctors and Patients can point one another to:

5 thoughts on “The future of mHealth and the signs that’ll tell us we’ve made it

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