Boston Children’s Hospital may want more apps but what’s stopping them from just buying them?



MobiHealthNews Naomi Fried Boston Childrens Innovation Officer

This MobiHealthNews story by Neil Versel reveals how the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital is “taking on a lot of app development” as it tries to “meet the demands of its professional staff and patients alike”. I find it incredible that a major hospital thinks it should be trying to compete in the mobile app development business and having tracked the adoption of medical text book smartphone apps over the last six years it got me looking at how the 5,000 sqft library at Boston Children’s Hospital is operating.

I find it incredible that a hospital is going with a strategy to start building mHealth apps when it has such a disappointing library service eg. from the website it appears the library service:

> is closed to patients/families most of the time, all weekends and during major holidays.

> has a website containing no optimised for mobile content (the “Online multimedia library” would probably be great).

> offers no wifi for users.

> offers no made for mobile content (for clinicians or patients)

> is wasting time/money stocking video “tapes” of content they own the rights to (why would you waste the resources of a modern Hospital on tapes when you could just post it on the Boston Children’s Hospital YouTube Channel and provide links to it?

Boston Childrens Hospital Library

My thoughts:

I don’t think at this stage it’s a great idea for a Hospital to be trying to internally develop mHealth apps when there are so many opportunities to partner with proven experts to fill gaps.

Perhaps the problem that the Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital is encountering is that the best mHealth app developers will be giving a wide berth to a Hospital that doesn’t even supply mobile content via it’s library,

Perhaps instead of developing it’s own apps the BCH should try and keep up with the pace of innovation at Hospitals like Ottawa (who have already provided more than 3,000 iPads loaded with content and services to their clinicians) or teaching hospitals like UCIrvine (who are publishing results they have had after moving all their educational content to supplied tablets).

Am I wrong? Should Hospitals be developing smartphone Apps? What platforms do you think they should develop for?

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