If a vendor doesn't offer a mobile app, ask why

The key to a good vendor blog is to be insightful without pushing your own products too hard. After all, people read blogs to be informed, entertained and get a sense of the myriad opinions out there in Internet Land, not to subject themselves to sales pitches.

One that consistently gets it right is the 3G Doctor Blog, produced by mobile video-consultation firm and PHR vendor 3G Doctor, based in beautiful County Kerry, Ireland. (Medical Director Dr. John Doherty regularly posts comments on FierceMobileHealthcare.)

Today, the blog links to an essay on mobile health by Neil Seeman, director of the Health Strategy Innovation Cell, at the University of Toronto's Massey College, specifically highlighting one quote: "So: The next time a vendor proposes any tool to improve healthcare, ask her about its applicability for the mobile phone. If she does not have an 'mhealth' application, ask why."

I like that. A lot. As Seeman notes, there are now more than 5 billion mobile phones in use across the globe. "In many countries, such as India, cell phone penetration is highest in rural, poorer regions. In South Africa, cell phone penetration is virtually 100 percent, allowing healthcare workers to dish out SMS text instructions to millions who are suffering from one of the largest HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world," he writes.

Yes, mobility is ubiquitous. Seeman believes that return on investment in mobile health technology is "astonishingly high" and that m-health helps close the digital divide. Healthcare, like people's lives, is becoming mobile. So take Seeman's advice and press your vendors about mobile apps.

And I won't forget to thank one particular vendor for the tip. - Neil