E-health expert: mHealth apps useless; physicians need greater tech expertise

An Australian medical expert in e-health systems says today's mHealth apps are "useless" and app makers require greater knowledge on what's needed by medical professionals and patients, according to an article at the Sydney Morning Herald.

George Margelis, of the University of Western Sydney, notes that collected data through mobile apps cannot be shared with other systems, and says app quality won't improve until developers are more astute on what solutions are needed.

"To date they have been focused on low-lying fruit such as fitness tracking and not focused on the big issues of management of disease which consumes the bulk of the cost of the healthcare system and resources. It is also the area that effects people most. Unfortunately, managing these diseases, in particular the chronic diseases that are a major part of the current burden, requires more than just tracking a few physical parameters which is what the app world is up to," he told the Herald.

A similar opinion is expressed by Trevor Strome, as FierceMobileHealthcare has recently reported. Strome, a Canadian-based healthcare analytics specialist, said app makers need to know what issue an app will solve, understand a user's workflow and keep usability at the forefront of design.

Late this summer researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bayview Internal Medicine Residency Program and the Orlando Health Internal Medicine Residency Program published a 10-step framework for developing mHealth apps that allows doctors to be involved in software conception, development and the research process outlines four specific advice points for future physician application developers.

One of the earliest steps in app creation is ensuring doctors are provided help in learning how technology can benefit the healthcare industry, Margelis said in the Herald article.

"We need better education for healthcare professionals in particular on the basics of eHealth technology and a way for them to get more actively involved in app design and implementation," he said.

To learn more:
- read the Sydney Morning Herald article

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