6 keys to successful mobile medical apps

For mobile health--specifically mobile medical apps--to be successful in a patient care setting, six principles must be taken into consideration, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Managing Director Christopher Wasden, who spoke at a HIT X.0 session at last week's Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference in Las Vegas.

Wasden said mobile health has matured beyond novelty and eventually will become core to the practice of medicine, he believes that there is still a way to go before it gets there.

"Mobile health technology is the first--and perhaps the only--technology that physicians have adopted more quickly and aggressively than IT departments can support," he said. "But [patients] stop using apps most often because we find a better one. People abandon the old for the new. This is clearly a market that has a long way to go before we find the secret sauce for success."

According to Wasden, the six principles include interoperability, integration, intelligence, outcomes, socialization and engagement.

"Apps and devices need to be able to talk and share information with one another," Wasden said. "And they need to do more than just spit out data that patients [entered]."

To that end, Wasden said, mobile medical apps should be able to come up with recommendations for what patients need to do differently in their lives.

"Connected health is only valuable if we're comfortable being told we're ugly," he said.

Ultimately, Wasden said that successful mobile medical app use is contingent on changing human behavior.

"As we take digital info and put it in a form factor that we can put in their hands so [doctors] can stand next to patients, it changes the user experience and the practice of medicine," he said.

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