The mobile health or mHealth train is leaving the station…
People are discovering the potential of smartphones for obtaining health information and are evaluating the potential uses of mobile applications.
The latest Pew Internet Research project focused on mobile health — or mHealth. They found:
- Fully 85% of U.S. adults own a cell phone. Half own smartphones, which expands their mobile internet access and enables mobile software applications.
- One in three cell phone owners (31%) have used their phone to look for health information
- In a comparable, national survey conducted just two years ago, only 17% of cell phone owners had used their phones to look for health advice.
- Smartphone owners lead this activity: 52% gather health information on their phones, compared with 6% of non-smartphone owners.
This begs the question… What will be the most valuable mobile application going forward? From a vertical, logical, short-term perspective…
The most useful mHealth application will (should) be your physician website!
Sadly, however, we still have a long way to go. Only 50% of physicians have a website, and the majority of those were created as a template. This means that the information is static, not very timely and the goal of the website is most likely promotional in nature.
We can change that, we need to change that! Patients are thirsty for relevant timely, up to date information on their disease states. The majority of people still trust their physicians as a source of health-related information. They will likely turn to us first for that information. If we do not step up and provide them with that information they will continue to look to the multitude of online, patient driven communities which are popping up to make up for our lack of productivity and content production.
The Web 2.0 and mobile compliant physician’s site can then serve as a hub for the next huge advance in mHealth … text messaging or applications that attempt to motivate or drive positive behavioral changes, medication or therapy adherence, etc. The world of text-based reminders and behavioral modification apps is in its infancy but will explode onto the scene over the next few years. Would you rather host that solution or sit and watch your competitors do so?
Nearly 85 % of healthcare conversations online are taking place without a physicians’ input… our patients are online — we should be too.
TThe mHealthmovement will mature quickly… don’t remain a siloed, static, irrelevant player for long!
Disclaimer: this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.