Throughout the world, companies are embracing mobile devices to set customer expectations, enlist them in satisfying their own needs, and get workers to adhere to best practices. An effort under way at the Mayo Clinic shows how such technology can be used to improve outcomes and lower costs in health care.
Defining the care a patient can expect to receive and what the road to recovery will look like is crucial. When care expectations are not well defined or communicated, the process of care may drift, leading to unwarranted variation, reduced predictability, longer hospital stays, higher costs, poorer outcomes, and patient and provider dissatisfaction.
With all this in mind, a group at the Mayo Clinic led by the four of us developed and implemented a standardized practice model over a three-year period (2010-2012) that significantly reduced variation and improved predictability of care in adult cardiac surgery.
One of the developments that germinated in that effort was the interactive Mayo myCare program, which uses an iPad to provide patients with detailed descriptions of their treatment plans and clinical milestones, educational materials, and a daily “To Do” list, and to report their progress and identify problems to their providers.
Everyone who knows my writing can attest that I neither pull punches nor play politics. It may distress people, and hopefully it won’t harbinger my demise. But as CEO of a young firm bringing overdue innovations to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services industry, there are only four groups to whom I am duty-bound: our partner-clients, their patients, our team members, and our investors (in no specific order). To remain mum on topics that could affect the physical or financial health and wellbeing of any of these parties would be a disservice.
When I was in the magazine business, I often used the phrase “Respect the medium.” The meaning was simple: when every industry player surfing the waves of innovation is trying something new, how many are asking whether the form is appropriate to the intended function? What changes need to be made to magazine’s font so its text can be read clearly on a small, backlit screen? What interactivity can be embedded into a digitally delivered? How will the user’s experience change when network access is down? (In February 2012, I wrote about these topics for Electronic Design Magazine.)
Failure to ask these questions is often the downfall of the delivery method: either the medium changes or its use declines; rarely do customers acclimate. In the publishing world, if your readers ignore you, you go away—no lasting harm or foul. Not so in healthcare or public safety. Especially during emergencies, if a product fails to work as intended—or to work at all—it can mean lost productivity, mountainous legal fees, brain death, or loss of life, limb and property.
Healthcare IT offers outsized benefits to Emergency Response teams, which depend on speed, ease of training and use, data accuracy, and interoperability. But the stakes of failure or disruption are so high that one can say there are few areas of development with a more desperate need for criticism.
Health information and education company Healthline Networks launched the BodyMaps iPad application today. BodyMaps, which displays rotatable high-resolution 3D illustrations of human anatomical structures, was created with GE Healthymagination in partnership with Visible Productions. Here you’ll see Senior Director of Product Management at Healthline John Emerson demo the app on his iPad, and CEO West Shell talks about his own recent experience using BodyMaps at his orthopedic surgeon’s office.
According to mobile application team manager, Paul Lanzi, Genentech has standardized on Apple for mobile, with 17,000 iOS device users worldwide (so by inference, 10,000 iPhones, though it surprises me less and less when I hear about companies deploying iPod Touches, too). All of the Apple devices are corporate-owned, as the company doesn’t do Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Genentech does have 15,000 BlackBerry users, but they are only allowed to do e-mail, no apps. It doesn’t support Android due to the fragmentation-related hassle. “It’s a really tricky one,” Lanzi said.
While many firms talk about how their device deployments are driven by the ROI they hope to get from using apps, Genentech is actually following through. The company has deployed 60-some apps to employees. Indeed, Genentech rolled out its first mobile Web page even before the iPhone was released, said Lanzi. “We’ve already retired some apps,” he said.Continue reading…
The app allows medical providers to trade their clipboards for (electronic) tablets, which present them a clean dashboard that lets them drill down into data such as medical history, medications (and allergies), X-rays and vital signs. It pulls that data down from a speedy SAP Hana in-memory database.
A few months ago, I heard a young design entrepreneur named Aza Raskin talk about his idea for a consumer health company, MassiveHealth, built around the concept of providing rapid feedback. For example, if you had a skin dye that faded a certain amount each time you took a dose of your antibiotic, you would be more likely to complete the full course.
Skip ahead not very far. Recently, MassiveHealth launched its first, free app (dubbed an experiment), called the Eatery. The idea is that you take a picture of your meal and rate its healthiness, which is then shared with other users. You benefit, as I understand it, by thinking more about your food and by getting input on your food from other users. What the company itself gets is not yet clear. They’ve shared some pretty maps of San Francisco and New York City showing where people are eating more vs. less healthy foods, and they’ve drawn some fairly general conclusions about how the supposed healthiness of our food changes during the day (good at breakfast, bad during the day, partial recovery at dinner).
At least as important, I’d imagine, they have an engaged group of users who seem (at least at this early stage) to be interested in interacting with the platform, and thus contributing to the development of the emerging data set; after only a week, more than one million food ratings were reportedly received.
More people with higher levels of concern about their health feel they are in good health, see their doctors regularly for check-ups, take prescription meds “exactly” as instructed, feel they eat right, and prefer lifestyle changes over using medicines.
And 40% of these highly-health-concerned people have also used a health technology in the past year.
At the other end of the spectrum are people with low levels of health concern: few see the doctor regularly for check-ups, less than one-half take their meds as prescribed by their doctors, only 31% feel they eat right, and only 36% feel they’re in good health.
While roughly one-fourth to one-third of U.S. adults have been early adopters of consumer technologies in general across low-moderate-and-high health concern segments, more of those with greater health concerns tended to use health tech products in the past twelve months: 40% of the highest concerned people vs. 25% of those with moderate health concerns and 14% of those at the lowest-concern level.
With about 9,000 consumer health apps currently available in the iTunes store, it seems like almost all smart phone users can download their way to better health these days.
The store offers a mindboggling array of creative apps, including ones that calculate calories burned during exercise, create soundtracks to help people fall asleep, and display pictures that can elicit memories from Alzheimer’s patients. If the store doesn’t offer something for what ails you now, it probably will soon. The selections will proliferate within the next year, with an additional 4,000 consumer apps expected by next summer, industry experts say.
But all this innovation creates a bewildering set of problems. It’s hard to figure out what apps are available, let alone which work best. Health apps may have the potential to dramatically improve people’s lives, but those based on misleading or bogus information can cause serious harm.
“Apple isn’t testing apps for their scientific validity,” said Dan Cohen, a social worker who has reviewed apps for their effectiveness.
Given the stakes, it’s no surprise that the government is starting to regulate these smart phone applications. Just last month, the Federal Trade Commission brought its first cases against the makers of two health apps. Each claimed to cure acne with colored lights emitted from cell phones.
Ok, before I even begin, let me put it right out there: I’ve been using Apple products since I first got my hands on one of those cute little Mac SEs in the late 80′s having given up my spanking, brand new Compaq 386 with 64kb of RAM and a dual 3.5 & 5.25 floppy drives to a post doc at MIT who traded me the Compaq, which he needed to finish his thesis, for his Mac. I never looked back. I will attempt to keep that bias in check in this post.
Tomorrow, Apple will formally release the iPad 2, a device that has seen extremely strong adoption in the healthcare sector and even one of the HIT industry’s leading spoke persons, John Halamka of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (he’s also Harvard Med School’s CIO) spoke to the applicability of the iPad in the healthcare enterprise in the formal iPad 2 announcement last week.
The iPad 2 release is happening while most other touch tablet vendors including HP, RIM, Cisco and those building Android-based devices struggle to get their Gen 1 versions into the market. Of these other vendors, only Android-based devices are available today, including among others the Samsung Galaxy and the Motorola Xoom.
But it is not so much the new features in the iPad 2 (e.g., lighter weight, faster processor, two cameras, etc.) that will continue to make the iPad the go to device for physicians and healthcare enterprises, it is the process by which Apple vets and approves Apps that are available in the App Store. Apple imposes what at times for many App developers is an arduous and at times capricious approach to approving Apps. This approval process is in stark contrast of the one for Android, which is based on an open, free market model letting the market decide as to which Apps will succeed and which will not.Continue reading…
After attending HIMSS 11 the largest annual health IT conference of the year, John Moore reported that “nearly every EHR vendor has an iPad App for the EHR [electronic health record], or will be releasing such this year.”
Doctors love iPads…not surprising? But, how might you explain this?
There are at least two different possibilities:
The Coincidence Theory
So doctors want to access EHR software through the iPad…what’s the big deal?
Apple has built a great new hardware platform with the iPad. There’s nothing else like it in the marketplace. While other companies are building competing tablets, Apple’s has been the only viable option in the market for over a year.
The iPad is intuitive, easy to use, reasonably priced, easy to carry around, and has a lot of apps that have been developed for the platform. People — not just doctors — love the experience of using an iPad.
Doctors just happen to be one group of zillions buying iPads. Why wouldn’t they? Doctors are smart, affluent, and many are opinion leaders. Doctors like cool new technologies just like anyone else.
Doctors also are mobile. They want to access EHRs in different exam rooms, from the hospital, from their homes. The iPad is the perfect hardware platform to take with you as as a doctor goes about their day.
Why are nearly all EHR vendors making their software work on the iPad?
Because doctors are demanding it.
The Conspiracy Theory
The iPad is Apple’s Trojan horse to create new revenues in an industry in which the company has had minimal presence — health care.
Apple has developed a very appealing hardware platform in the iPad. Recognizing the market strength and lock-in to their walled garden they are creating with consumers, Apple is targeting key market segments to create new revenue streams and business models. Health care is the next target for Apple’s aggressive smarts.