McKinsey’s “Healthcare digital future” checks out

Stefan Biesdorf and Florian Niedermann of McKinsey wrote an excellent essay laying out 5 myths about health care and technology. It rings true so I decided to add my own evidence to their points:

McKinsey Myth 1: People don’t want to use digital services for healthcare

Pew Research has found that looking for health information is consistently among the most popular online activities in the U.S., a trend dating back to 2000, so there’s no question that this is a potentially huge market. Biesdorf and Niedermann make the point that there is a gap between consumer interest and uptake of digital health services because current offerings are poor quality or don’t serve people’s needs. Continue reading

Mobile, social, health, care

Two people holding hands at the mouth of a tunnel. Uploaded by Adam Foster on flickrA clinical trial in Kenya confirmed that human kindness is the secret ingredient to health and mobile phones are an ideal delivery system. Well, that’s my interpretation.

Here’s the gist:

Taking your meds is essential to maintaining your health when you live with a chronic condition. People know this, but they need help doing it. They tend to tune out reminders — constant texts become more of a nag than a boost, studies show. Instead, people respond to empathy — in this study, a single word, texted once a week: “Mambo?” which means “How are you?” People who texted back that they were not feeling well received follow-up phone calls to see if clinicians could help them get back on track. Continue reading

Was it a keynote? Or a seismic warning?

Eric Topol’s keynote at HIMSS13, a massive health IT event, was a tsunami of ideas and visions for the future of health care. I wasn’t there, so I salvaged what washed up on my shore as a Storify.

Why? Because I’m an internet geologist. I look for early warning signs of possible futures and Topol was reeling them out, one after the other. He described the possible trajectory of trends we are tracking every day at the Pew Research Center: mobile, social, DIY health. It’s not reality for everyone, but it’s reality for some — and that’s exactly what we look for when we’re mapping our research agenda. What’s now and what’s next.

If you were there, what was the most surprising or exciting thing he mentioned? If you’re just tuning in and seeing the Storify, what jumps out at you as the most or least likely trend?

Is there hope for SMS health alerts?

Richard Fury, MD, of Kaiser Permanente emailed me recently, asking: “Is there any hope for SMS health alerts when patients are due for preventive care?  As you know, patients want this, we want to provide this, but without symptomatic incentives adoption is poor. Thoughts?”

I think there is hope for SMS health alerts targeting people under the age of 65 (and particularly those under 50). Look at the potential market:

Pew Internet: Demographics of  cell- and smartphone ownership, Sept 2012

Pew Internet: Demographics of texting, Sept 2012

However, just 9% of cell phone owners say they receive any text updates or alerts about health or medical issues. (See: Pew Internet: Mobile; Mobile Health 2012).

For more evidence, I recommend following the work being done at the Center for Connected HealthText4Baby, and txt2stop. I’m also interested in the SMS emergency alert systems set up by local, state, and federal governments — maybe they’ll prove the market for health alerts.

What other evidence would you recommend, either pro or con? Have there been failed attempts at SMS health reminders? Successes I didn’t name? Please post in the comments.

Don’t immediately believe the mhealth hype – Dave Clifford

Carrying on the tradition of taking an epic comment and publishing it as a stand-alone post, I’m very happy to feature Dave Clifford’s take on the new mobile health data:

Don't believe the hype machineI care very deeply about numbers and measuring what people are doing in reality versus expectations. I believe that polling is a useful quantitative tool to say something about the universe in the absence of complete information, and I’ve studied polling and behaviors for a bit of my career. I worked at UConn’s polling center in college for a bit, and advised some journalists about how pundits cherry-pick statistics. I worked for DARPA, creating more accurate models for use in experimental biology more akin to those used in physics, and moved to PatientsLikeMe to try and gather incredibly important information on how people with chronic health issues work and live day-to-day outside of clinical settings. Currently, I consult with a number of organizations that seek to use data and information technology to improve healthcare and biological research and translate that into delivery.

Most of the time, I have numbers on the brain. Last week, I noticed a number of people that seemed to be drawing the same conclusions on Twitter regarding mobile health and the most recent Pew study. The conclusion that people seemed to be presenting was this – Susannah’s most recent research at Pew showed that mobile health was a big deal, an idea whose time has come. Continue reading

Go mobile

In 2008, I summarized Pew Internet’s health findings in 7 words of wisdom:

Recruit doctors. Let e-patients lead. Go mobile.*

Four years later, I’m banging the same drum, but with even more data to back it up. The market for mobile-ready health information continues to grow, even as health apps are just simmering along (in terms of consumer adoption, anyway). Continue reading

What people living with disability can teach us

The Pew Internet Project recently issued a short report noting that people living with disability are less likely than other adults in the U.S. to use the internet: 54%, compared with 81%. The first question many people ask when they hear that is, Why? The second is, What can be done? The third is, or should be, What can we learn from this? Continue reading

Who *are* those guys? (Matt Wiggins and Remedy Systems)–Susannah Fox

How many times have you been at a conference, listening to some panel, when all of a sudden someone says something that snaps you out of your stupor and you think, “Who *is* that guy?” (And if you’re lucky enough to remember Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, please enjoy the following rendition of that feeling.)

That happened to me most recently at the mHealth Summit and the guy was Matt Wiggins of Remedy Systems, which has developed a prescription routing app that works with SureScripts. John Maschenic, a Verizon Wireless executive, had just made a pretty skeptical comment about the market for health apps, saying essentially (according to my notes) “look at what people pay for — music, not health.” And Matt shot back (again, according to my notes): “We’ll just keep building our company and you can read about it later in the New Yorker.” Anyone who says that is going to get Googled, right then & there. Continue reading