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”
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: