Do you use health apps in your everyday life? Who directed you to the apps you use? Your doctor? Friend? Co-worker? Well, if you got yours from the App Store or Google Play then you are in the majority. That wasn’t the case 5 years ago:
This marks a shift from the firm’s 2010 survey, when more than 65 percent of healthcare practitioners said they’d be the ones to recommend mHealth apps to their patients. Five years later, that percentage has dropped to 48 percent of physicians and 46 percent of hospitals. (link to article)
Back in the late 2000s the apps were mostly driven by the health providers such as physician practices and hospitals. They were also many that were related to specific disease states or information that was gathered from the patient at the specific hospital or physician practice. Now we are seeing a trend, one that has been growing for a couple of years, of apps targeted toward exercise and diet. You may have a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, use My Fitness Pal or other apps to track what you do, what you eat, what your pulse is and how long you exercised.
But a lot of the apps fail to satisfy the users need. They may be too complicated to use, take more effort to input information or just simply don’t do what the app advertises. For instance, I have a Fitbit and originally wanted it to track my sleep. But it is not consistent so I just can’t rely on the information. A lot of the apps that you might have on your phone, iPad or such you have to either read the label and input the information about that chocolate chip cookie or glass of almond milk that you just consumed. Some are sophisticated enough to scan the barcode of the product and take the information from there into the app.
So what has your experience been with apps for your health? Did you healthcare provider point you to helpful ones? Do you use apps that are specific to your disease state – as in the case of diabetic monitors? Or have you just seen others using these apps on Facebook and thought that might work for you?
Tell me about it!
Just read an article which discussed the challenges that wearables, or the wearable vendors, face in actually helping the individual. Though very interesting on the discussion I am not sure I completely agree with the expert that the author interviewed. Part of me wonders if the expert really understands what the wearables purpose truly is and has kept up with the expected functions of the wearables – since some of them that they specifically point out have not even hit the market yet and speculation is varied on what they will include. I wrote a blog for my company that talks about wearables in case you want to check that out here.
Wearables are on the market and currently target specific areas such as walking steps and diabetes information. We are anxiously awaiting what the new Apple app is going to do. From what I have read the app has a lot of functions and most are tied to devices that integrate with the app. (That is the short story but if you want more check out the link above.)
The expert interviewed by the author in the first article I pointed out makes some good observations or points on what the mainstream individuals may want from wearables or even mHealth apps. He states that they want some kind of reward or motivation to keep the individual using the wearable or app. One that caught my attention was the use of personal goals. Devising the wearables to produce data or to help the individual achieve goals set by the individual. That is a great idea and one that is currently used in several fitness apps today. Another that made me go “wow!!” is a financial incentive such as insurance discounts. My first question is how are they going to know at the insurance company that I’ve used my wearable to achieve a goal in order to give me the discount? This is going back to the data and Big Brother that I did an earlier blog on. While I would really like to have those monetary incentives I have many concerns on who would have access to my data and be using it specifically for me. I’m really not so concerned with what we in the industry call “scrubbed data” or data that has the personal identifiers removed. There is that big thing called HIPAA act that I kinda like a lot.
What I really disagree with the expert about is that the users will become bored with the wearables or the apps. But I do admit that if an app requires too much daily work for me, as I experienced with the food tracking on MyFitnessPal, I don’t think I would keep up with it – I didn’t on the app I mentioned. If an app or wearable is providing usable information that is easy for the user/wearer to use then I think our culture of individuals that are trying to make their lives more healthy, for whatever reason, will be using it. If it is popular or fashionable with the public then there is even more reason for its use.
What do you think? Would you use a wearable? What would you want from the wearable or app to make it a long-term use?
Have you tried the Google Glass yet? Wear a Fitbit? In a recent post for the Pivot Point Consulting blog, I talk about wearables, those devices that you wear which capture data as you wear them about your or your health, and how they fit into healthcare technology today. I also talk about what the future might look like with the upcoming Apple & Google innovations. What will the market look like to the consumer? What does the market and the financial feasibility look like for the companies developing the wearables? And most importantly, what do we do with all that data that is or will be collected?
Take a peek and let me know how wearables can or will affect your world!