In this episode of the Surviving Healthcare podcast, you will learn about mHealth, which is short for “mobile health,” a term commonly used to describe the practice of medicine using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to collect health data, deliver current healthcare information to physicians and patients, and to monitor patient health in real time. My guest for this episode is Adam C. Powell, Ph.D.
Dr. Powell is a healthcare economist and author who serves as President of Payer + Provider Syndicate, a consulting firm focused on the managed care and healthcare delivery industries. He also teaches courses on healthcare technology adoption at Northeastern University and is also part of the visiting faculty at the Indian School of Business, where he teaches students about Health IT and his commentary has been featured at a number of news outlets.
As we begin our conversation, Dr. Powell explains the concept of mHealth and why it’s important. You will discover how many devices and apps are now available in this field and why constant monitoring of our health can help us manage our healthcare better and give us more control.
We then discuss how many and the types of people who actually use mHealth devices and apps, and why they do or don’t. Through Dr. Powell, we discover which categories of apps seem to be the most popular and offers an explanation as to why that may be the case and which are the least. We also talk about mHealth apps designed to connect patients with healthcare providers and deal with a number of healthcare issues. Dr. Powell explains that many apps be useful to many people and why.
We also talk about the barriers to mHealth adoption, and why many apps are not being used very much by people. You may be as surprised as I was at the primary reason these types of apps and devices don’t catch on. We then talk about ways those problems can be overcome, through various types of incentives. Dr. Powell notes that all of this involves a level of behavior modification, and suggests a number of ways people can be encouraged to either want to change, or technology can be used to make the apps easier to use.
We also get into a discussion about why some apps are good and some are bad, and which ones are being examined by the FDA, for their efficacy and risk. Dr. Powell also explains why accuracy is a big factor in making mHealth apps and devices more effective, and why accuracy may ultimately be a factor that moves these apps into the mainstream.
Finally, we discuss the current and future status of reviewing mechanisms for mHealth apps, and how an authoritative reviewing and evaluation system to determine the efficacy of each app or device could go a long way toward making them more useful. Dr. Powell tells us what he’s been doing to make that happen.