Last week I tried to explain how mHealth offers a opportunity to transform complex mobile technology so that it is consumer intelligible so it’s great to find a commercial success story that supports this in a presentation from last weeks “Entrepreneurial Potential within the Health Sector” hosted by the University of Portsmouth Business School.
“the real trick for us was to figure out a way to make the job easier for the frontline nurse that actually collected higher quality information and added intelligence and communication to it so healthcare just started to work better. So we now just give the nurses – well I don’t, the trust buys them for the nurses – iPod Touch’s and these are great devices. We used to do it on PDA’s and of course at Portsmouth it’s still PDA’s at the moment. PDA’s are like the Hewlett Packard Diaries and they have a 2 hour battery life in our setting because you have to leave them powered up all the time and WiFi running all the time. So they have a 2 hour battery life and a 2 hour recharge time so you used to have to get all the nurses to do the odds and put it back on the charger and then do the odds and put it back on charge and then you find all the chargers break because they are put back on chargers like 30 times a day, or 40 times a day and the sort of reliability problems and when you go to technology like the Apple in our use they get between 12 and 16 hours battery life in an iPod Touch and a PDA costs £300 each and an iPod Touch in volume sale costs £130 so we’re in a completely different place the old tablet PCs they’re still in Portsmouth where they’re using the Panasonics which are big heavy things that have a 2 hour battery life and in the iPads you get them for £350 each now and their battery’s last 12 hours and this (the Panasonic ToughBook) lasts 2 hours so they run out on the ward round and you get 5 iPads (for the cost of a ToughBook). I’m kind of astonished, in some of the hospitals I talk about these stats and they still say ‘yeah but we’ve never had Apple here, I’m not sure’ and I’m like ‘i don’t get it. Every Doctor out there has got one in their pockets, maybe 60-70% have bought iPhones’. And increasingly now you find yourself building key business relationships and here is one for us, Apple are selling something like 2/3rds of all their devices being sold into Healthcare are for VitalPack – for our system – so they’ve got very excited about what we’re doing, they love it, they like the way our app works, they think it’s cool like Apple should be and it’s doing a great thing to reduce cardiac arrest rates, reducing mortality, reducing hospital acquired infections. So nurses take data down on an iPod and if that’s a sick patient it analyses that data and says ‘oh yeah they’re sick and they’ve got a lot worse since last time they were seen’ and the Doctor would see that because it sends a message straight to the iPhone of the Doctor and it doesn’t just send the message it sends the whole chart so the Doctor can see all the trends as well and they can handshake with the nurse saying ‘I’m on my way’ and the whole thing works a lot quicker – otherwise today the nurse has to do that put it on the chart which takes about twice as long then they have to walk and find a phone, bleep a Doctor, wait for the phone to ring back, it’s all complicated it takes minutes and it’s all supposed to be for patients who are very sick and in need of attention, and then they’ve got to talk it all through rather than having all the data set out in an objective way and all properly written”
Click here to watch the entire talk/slides (recommended).
In the UK we’re rapidly approaching a precipice when the healthcare market will wake up to the opportunity to let patients interact with healthcare system data using their own mobile devices. We’re optimistic that this is going to be even more enthusiastically received by NHS patients than the run away success story reported following the adoption of a Mobile First Strategy by Kaiser Permanente.
I expect mobile device manufacturers who see the opportunity to partner (similar to how Apple is working to achieve record sales through a relationship with the VitalPac App developer) will fare much better than those that try to diversify (like O2/Telefonica attempted when it paid Leeds Medical School to take iPhones) or do it themselves (like Samsung are now attempting with their S Health brand).
If you can’t see how partnerships make for the the ultimate loss leader/marketing strategy look no further than the relationship between Apple and VitalPac and consider how the results VitalPac is getting for Apple wouldn’t be achieveable even if you spent an annual marketing budget that exceeded the total value of The Learning Clinic (the VitalPac apps developer).