Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My 2012 Prediction: Action Not Theory

I predict that 2012 will be a year of actions and not just theory in mobile health. This is primarily due to a realignment of payment incentives (or lack of payment) by the Affordable Care Act which will go into action in October. Starting in October, hospitals will be financially penalized for readmitting Medicare patients whose relapses were preventable. Low-cost technology tools such as mobile health programs or remote monitoring devices will pay for themselves — and then some — if they prevent even a single $10,000 hospital readmission.  It is just simple math.

Therefore, I predict that hospital systems and payors will be turning more and more to evidence-based mobile health purchases and implementations that affect health outcomes. My partner Duet Health and the EndoGoddess app are now speaking with several different collaborating partners and will fill you in with details when things become official so stay tuned! Watch for exciting developments for patient-centered, outcome-centered mobile intervention ACTION in 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holidays and Technology

As a doctor at family gatherings, I am often asked numerous medical questions by family members each year which started during my first year of medical school. But now, as a technology entrepreneur, I get asked technology questions too. Over the holidays, one of the kid's iTouches met the toilet, and appeared to stop working. Tears quickly ensued in the 8 year old little girl's eyes until the 'technology family members' came to the rescue with the special instructions (which they searched for with their smartphones) to bring it back to life: low-grade heat and rice. The first Christmas miracle of the night pictured here.

The second Christmas miracle of the night came in the form of new interest in mobile technology from an older relative who still finds email intimidating. However, she's finding herself  now open to the idea of smartphones for their ease in sending pictures to her grandchildren. Mobile technology just feels more approachable to her than PCs, and now she may soon be purchasing an iPhone!

Smartphones and tablets dominated my family's and friend's wish lists this year so it wasn't a surprise to me that a lot of app shopping seemed to be occuring on Christmas day. I'm super excited to report that the EndoGoddess app picked up a batch of new customers thanks to all of those 'technology family members' in living rooms across the country on Christmas day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A New Year and A New App?

The end of the year is approaching and we are all likely planning how we are going to convert our new years resolutions into actions. For organizations such as hospital systems or for individual physicians practices, perhaps mobile health is on that list. A great first step to putting that resolution into action is reaching out to a mobile partner. My partner (and disclaimer, happily my employer too) is Duet Health by eProximiti. Duet Health is building great white-label apps (including the EndoGoddess App) from the ground up. Here is a demo:

Will we be building your app be next?? :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How A Diabetes Pilot Study Led To App Development

The EndoGoddess App developed from the seeds of a diabetes SMS texting pilot study that I created and executed in 2010. The pilot study showed how weekly standardized texting conversations between the physician and teen patients could improve health outcomes. This piece was filmed August 2010 at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio by NBC:

Monday, December 12, 2011

My mHealth Summit Summary

I just returned home from mHealth Summit Meeting in DC which, in my opinion, is still one of the biggest and best mobile health conferences of the year. On the first day of the conference, I discussed the EndoGoddess App as a use case example of mobile health from the practicioner point of view.

There were many great networking opportunities but my favorite was at the Rock Health's Disruptive Women Party where I had the pleasure of meeting other ambitious women who were also technology entrepreneurs.  Pictured with me above on the far right is Deborah Fergusson, of Ayogo Games, who created the awesome facebook game HealthSeeker along with Diabetes Hands Foundation. I have always admired the idea of games and social media to influence health behaviors so it was a THRILL to meet Deborah, a nurse by training. The game is discussed below:

Sadly, the numbers of physicians in the mobile health entrepreneural space at mHealth Summit were still few and essentially unchanged from last year by my counts. Although I realize that many actively practicing physicians cannot attend all technology meetings, I would consider mHealth Summit to be that one meeting a year that an ambitious physician mobile health entrepreneur would take the time to attend. Therefore, I am assuming that this correlates with a low number of physician entrepreneurs in the marketplace. Although large numbers of physicians are certainly using smartphones, there is still a notable lag in the incorporation of mobile health within the traditional medical practice. For example, case examples of physicians recommending health apps to their patients and then measuring changes in medication adherence or health outcomes are not common. Additionally, mobile phone sensors as a dominant outpatient diagnostic tool is also uncommon although cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol mentioned that his mobile phone vscan ultrasonic sensor has now replaced his stethoscope in his outpatient clinic. Exchanges on twitter such as the one listed below may mirror the fact that perhaps physicians aren't taking mobile health seriously:

I hope more of my fellow physicians take the opportunity to use their voices (as new entrepreneurs) to shape the future of medicine into the one that they would like to see. Physician voices are important and a critical part of making mobile health and other technologies successful in improving patients' lives. Hope to see and hear more physician voices next year at mHealth Summit! :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

EndoGoddess, Mobile Apps, and Congress

Yep, I recently had the opportunity to spend a day in the US Congress at the first congressional hackathon on December 7th in DC. The event brought together technology entrepreneurs and social media enthusiasts to brainstorm how to modernize congress and to make it more social.

Interestingly, the issues and challenges discussed were very similar to those faced in the modernization of medicine:
  • a zero margin of error
  • critical data transfers and data entry in real-time
  • rethinking data so as to make it more useful and engaging to patients/constituents 

Perhaps it is as simple as saying that modern democracy and modern medicine is best when it is transparent and social. It is VERY exciting to be a part of this modern renaissance that claims its success when we are ALL actively participating in our government and our healthcare. Engagement is most certainly my #1 goal in mobile health and measure of success. Here is a great video summary of the event and of what we came up with: