I’m not one to shy away from calling out mHealth innovations that I think are over hyped (eg. read my criticism of what I thought was a waste of £4 million researching how to plug a urine test into a mobile phone and contrast that with the elegant solution developed by a few hackers last week in Stockholm) but I feel the criticism in this news story is quite unfair.
“I think this one’s a little over hyped, I think it takes something low tech and creates a high tech solution. $800 is a lot of money to spend for something that I think you can figure out yourself just by studying your own patterns”
Dr Laurie Green, Obstetrician, California Pacific Medical Center.
To my mind claiming “a thermometer and graph paper should work almost as well” is like me saying “posting letters to a Doctor should work as well as a video consultation”. Fortunately we live in a world where there is technology available for things like this and those of us who can chose to use it can benefit from fewer delays, inconvenience and complexity involved for those who don’t.
Once you appreciate that the marketing of the DuoFertility device is in line with it’s use:
1) it is designed to be used by “women who have had difficulties getting pregnant do so more easily”.
2) it’s use is as an alternative to IVF (for which it has been proven to be as effective at 1/10th the cost whilst being totally natural and drug-free) for those who don’t have physical problems.
I think it’s a moot point to suggest it’s a waste of money especially if we’re talking about a woman who has no physical problems and is considering spending money on IVF.
Those who haven’t tried using a thermometer/pen/paper should obviously try that before even considering IVF (you really don’t need an obstetrician to give you that free advice) but if you’re going to spend your money on something there’s nothing wrong with the promotion of this particularly in a market that tolerates direct to consumer advertising of prescription medications (with the DuoFertility device/service there won’t be any side effects).