Primary Care Doctors share their mHealth Summit take aways

On my drive home tonight I listened to this 42 minute podcast of mHealth discussion between Ted Eytan MD and two US Primary Care Doctors: Paulanne Balch and Sue Woods.

If you think Doctors are going to have trouble appreciating mHealth opportunities please listen to this twice. If you are an USA mobile brand that wants to lead the mHealth market forget about all those quantified self technology focused possibilities and find a way to hire Sue or Paulanne.

Key comments for me:

“In the old testament there’s the story of Noah and the Ark, when Noah was told to build the Ark he built it on dry land. When you listen to the carriers like Qualcomm and Verizon you get this epihany that the Ark is the Cellphone. We can’t even imagine that the cellphone is going to be the hub but it’s clear to me that they perceive that health is simply another one of the services that will eventually yield to the cellphone and be part of the services we’ll all enjoy through our cellphone. DO YOU THINK THAT’S A GOOD OR A BAD THING? I think it’s an IS thing, the availability and immediacy of content and connection whenever and wherever we are is the new reality and if you’re not including that reality in the services you provide you will become extinct…

…The challenge is going to be shifting from integration at the level of bricks and mortar to integration at the level of information services…

In the mobile world you’re either there for me or you’re not there… …a cultural change even for integrated systems as the work we do is a provision of information service to our patients…

Everbody has a cellphone of some kind, but maybe only 10% of my patients have a smartphone… …one of the things I’ve started doing is that every cellphone has some kind of an alarm and I just said to a kid today who had sprained her ankle to set her alarm to remind her to do her ankle exercises and she perked up. So I think we have to be aware of the potential of the tools that patients have… …I think the Doctors aren’t thinking this way, we’re not thinking what tools do people have at their disposal and the cellphone as a tool for health…

…right now there are a lot of vestigal habits and traditions that are surviving and they’ll probably survive for some time but when these exchanges go through they’ll fundamentally change the way private health insurance is sold in the country and Doctors who get it and engage with patients on a smartphone are going to be much better than Doctors who are still thinking of bricks and mortar and paperwork…

…We really need a course for Doctors… …you live in our system we don’t think about the systems around them… …if I don’t interact on cellphones I’m not going to be one of the 2 by 2 that get on the Ark…

…shared cared is a very different model. Where Doctor and Patient are partners and we move on from the autocrat…

…Sidney Garfield our founder told us “Health should not be accessible it should be irresistable” and how do you make all the little steps toward health not barriers but not even steps just irresistable attractions…

Paulanne Balch MD, @BPBMD2, Physician, Kaiser Permanente

“Don’t forget the simple stupid, we can do a lot more with just simple connections…

…a person with diabetes doesn’t just wake up and say “I’m going to spend 30 minutes on this interactive educational self management app for my diabetes” they wake up and say “I’m running out of my medicines, I need an appointment, I need to help my mother get an appointment”. So the developers (of mHealth services) need to make sure they…start with the premise that they’re meeting peoples needs…

…at the VA we’re setting up our mobile strategy and you’ll hear more about over the next year and it’s really exciting because we are developing apps ourselves and with partners…

…how do you get Doctors to change… …well you can’t go in and change a culture a culture has to change on its own and you can provide some context… …we’re moving rapidly to a new space where virtual care and using mobiles I can’t make anyone see differently or work differently and frankly I think it’s going to be the patient who in their story in their communication in their behaviour will be the change and will produce change where the clinicians will then see it on their own.

In one of my interviews with a patient (who accessed his own records when the VA used to offer that) he noticed that there was a X-Ray report in which there were some abnormalities and he wasn’t really sure what it represented and the radiologist recommended a follow up in 6 months and he gave the story that 6 months came and went and not a peek from the clinicians or the health system about a repeat X-Ray and so he initiated the repeat X-Ray. Now would that have happened had he not (had access to his records?)… …so when people think about full access and patients reading their records they’re not thinking in comparison to what, how does that change things in comparison to what exists now? Because NOW is we don’t see, we don’t palpatate, all the stuff that doesn’t get done all the things that go missing, all the feedback that doesn’t happen and just falls through the cracks and to me what will happen is that people and clinicians inparticular will really start understanding and appreciating on their own the tremendous value of moving towards shared access…

Sue Woods MD, @suewoods, blog, Department of Veterans Affairs

Last year at the mHealth Summit I remember Bill Gates at the end of his keynote being asked “What’s the most exciting thing today in Healthcare today?” to which he answered “Robots”.

It makes for an interesting contrast to consider this technologist perspective alongside what frontline primary care Doctors are experiencing:

“…I think the most exciting thing that’s going on in medicine is what’s not going on inside of medicine, it’s going on outside of medicine as consumers are getting more engaged with their care… …the challenge is how do we make it so our members, enrolees, patients just trip over these tools when they come into our systems… …we have to think like supermarkets who put their sugar cereals at kid level so they see them…” Dr Woods

“…you look at how big pharmaceuticalised and big systemised medicine has become, to me people taking control and taking the power back is the most exciting thing. And today when a patient asks me every detail about her report I think “good for you girl” it may take me more time but it’s the way it should be…” Dr Balch

About 3G Doctor

The Corporate Blog of 3G Doctor
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