Collaboration is the best medicine for mHealth

There are many reasons mobile healthcare is being propelled forward. Smartphone advancements are laying a strong foundation for healthcare device development; app makers are innovating on monitoring; and tracking software and providers are piloting new tools at their facilities.

These all make for good headlines, but one trend that often doesn't get as much attention is the collaborative trifecta: when tech vendors, platform builders and providers all are part of an effort.

An example of this is the work surrounding the use of a mobile tool for diabetics in Canada: the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), Baltimore-based WellDoc and Samsung are teaming up on the initiative.

For the project, WellDoc's BlueStar type 2 diabetes self-management technology will integrate with Samsung S Health platform to provide care for more than 300 OTN patients.

WellDoc CEO Kevin McRaith told FierceMobileHealthcare this week that the partnership is all about helping OTN meet its goals as a provider.

"It is quite a unique partnership in that the three organizations have inherent synergies in our goal to leverage technology to improve outcomes at scale and generate evidence to prove it," he said.

One big reason such a collaboration materialized has a chance to succeed, I believe, is the involvement of professional medical insight pushing for patient engagement.

WellDoc founder Suzanne Sysko Clough is an endocrinologist who, according to McRaith, knows it would be impossible to provide the level of care required to coach patients to wellness if they weren't managng their health outside of the doctor's office.

OTN CEO Edward Brown, who also is an emergency physician, expressed similar sentiments in announcing the intiative. 

"At OTN, we firmly believe guided self-management can change outcomes for people living with type 2 diabetes," Brown said in a statement.

Such an attitude is an important aspect in developing viable mHealth technology. Without real medical professional insight, as well as insight from patients and what they need, a solution really can't be expected to do very much.

While this collaboration's starting point is diabetes management, McRaith said that the ultimate goal is to bring such solutions to everyone struggling with various chronic issues. 

"We see many vectors of expansion, from co-morbid condition management, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and obesity, to sensor and wearable integration, along the likes of what we're doing with our partners at Samsung," McRaith said.

They're already off to a good start. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)

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