The race may be on for the killer health app but is UCSF missing something?

Reading The Race is on for the Killer Health App at UCSF by Siri Markula, I had these thoughts:

In the future, you might not need to go to a doctor for follow up visits even if you suffer from a chronic disease. You could connect devices like blood pressure or glucose meters to your phone or enter in data from them, as well as tell your device how you are feeling. The phone (or the application, to be exact) will tell you if you need to adjust your habits, diet or medication – or if you should visit your doctor

It never ceases to amaze me how many people fail to see the massive mHealth opportunity to collapse time and space and take the Doctor to the patient.

Thankfully Jeff Jorgenson, Assistant Director of Telemedicine at UCSF, makes up for this when he describes the “big market” as the ability to put “the doctor in the phone and give the phone to the patient” before going on to make one of the classic mistake I see technologists making as they approach mHealth:

Suarez says the wStack will be open-sourced, probably within a month. It means that anyone can develop the code and use it to create new applications… …basically, wStack performs artificial intelligence, drawing conclusions about what is wrong with the patient and what he or she should do. This would free up physicians’ time to treat patients who most urgently need care. But it also raises the question: can a machine be relied on to make correct diagnoses? We believe so… …There are published medical protocols that can give you the criteria. We have to obviously work together with the physicians

Why are so many of these developers focused on trying to DO the job of Doctors rather than SUPPORT them as they do their jobs?

Jeff Jorgensen may state that “it’s not easy to sell the idea of investing in mHealth to care providers” but I’d bet I wouldn’t get much enthusiasm if I tried to sell a room full of his developers on the idea that I was going to replace them all with a computer that would create and launch mHealth apps.

We have a technology that collapses time and space, why not focus on the millions of inefficient processes that patients and their carers face today than trying to force change in the most complicated area of medicine?

What is mHealth? Whoever gets there first and defines the whole thing is going to drive that definition. I don’t think anyone has done that yet

Try this for size: mHealth is the leverage of mobile (the newest and least understood mass media) for Health

For more on the mHealth plans at UCSF you might like to check out this slide deck from Larry Suarez, Architect, UCSF’s mHealth Team:

About 3G Doctor

The Corporate Blog of 3G Doctor
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The race may be on for the killer health app but is UCSF missing something?

  1. Jeff Jorgenson says:

    “Why are so many of these developers focused on trying to DO the job of Doctors rather than SUPPORT them as they do their jobs?”

    Your point about supporting the physicians is well-taken and that is a key piece of our strategy, in fact decision support and workflow efficiency are two areas that we are very actively pursuing. Wellness, Clinical Care, Post-Treatment Monitoring are what we call our continuum of care.

    I think Dr Mattison at Kaiser puts it best calling it a “symphony of apps”:
    http://mobihealthnews.com/6858/interview-kaiser-cmio-on-mhealth-opportunity/

    One thing I was criticized for was not having our physicians involved in the article. We don’t do anything without them and we expect a follow-up article will make this clear. This article focuses on the patient facing side because that is the opportunity for the biggest impact.

    I think UCSF’s strength will be on the research side, proving the efficacy of the medium to reach patients and defining and refining the techniques to keep them engaged.

    I appreciate the definition of mHealth you provided, my point being no one has done it end-to-end yet. Based on his success pioneering the EHR at Kaiser, the resources as his disposal and Kaiser’s investment in wellness my money is on Dr Mattison getting there first – and we’d like to help him.

  2. Hi Jeff,

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean by:

    “I appreciate the definition of mHealth you provided, my point being no one has done it end-to-end yet”

    Could you explain yourself please?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s