The Center for Connected Health is debuting a market research tool, called cHealth Compass, to help providers, vendors and healthcare organizations better understand what mHealth consumers want, how they're using mobile tools and gain necessary insight for building connected technology.
The goal is to help "companies and organizations developing mobile and connected health devices and systems, in order to effectively test new technologies with real people, in a real world setting," Kamal Jethwani, M.D., MPH, corporate manager for Research and Innovation at the Center for Connected Health, told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email.
The platform creates custom surveys for a large research panel featuring consumers, patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. Including end-user insight and feedback prior to mHealth technology development is critical and valuable, according to Joseph C. Kvedar, M.D., director for the Center for Connected Health.
"At the Center for Connected Health, we strongly believe in patient-centered approaches to developing and deploying connected health products. Including the end users, in this case, consumers, in every step of the innovation process ensures that products will actually solve problems our patients face, and lead to better adoption and engagement." Kvedar says in an announcement.
The platform effort comes amid a strong wave of mHealth tech adoption and innovation though big challenges regarding data security and data collection, as well as data accuracy and data sharing, loom high on the horizon.
The market tool development aligns with a prediction that mHealth technology is moving from the fitness sector and into the healthcare realm quickly, with one analyst predicting the transition will take root in 2015. Also, many mHealth vendors are developing and marketing devices that likely will gain little traction due to not delivering what consumers want, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.
Participants involved in cHealth Compass will complete monthly surveys on data relating to health, what influences health behaviors as well as technology use. It can also be used to easily find and recruit research study participants.
"In our experience at Partners HealthCare and the Center for Connected Health, most generations are, to some degree, using technology and mobile phones in their every day lives. In fact, we have patients in their 70s and 80s using mobile health tools," Jethwani said. "This is the first stage where we are trying to restrict the group to those who can use mobile phones. At a later time, we definitely would like to include other people too, who use only computers or would answer surveys by pen and paper."
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