Morristown Medical Center builds 'app bar'

A New Jersey medical center now boasts its own mHealth app bar, a la Apple's retail store, to provide patients, staff and visitors tech support and training on mobile software and devices.

The "Health Connect" store in the lobby of Morristown Medical Center features a full-time tech specialist, according to an announcement. Patients and visitors can bring any mobile device, including smartphones, tablets and laptops, and learn about new tech such as blood pressure monitors, fitness trackers, wireless BMI scales and apps that provide healthcare data and insight.

The goal is to empower patients, visitors and community members to take advantage of mHealth tools that promote health and well-being, David Shulkin, M.D., president of the center, tells FierceMobileHealthcare in an email.

In developing the hub, which also sells accessories such as chargers and ear buds, Shulkin and his staff formed focus groups, involving patients, to learn about what devices and apps are being used and what questions patients have about mHealth. Another good best practice he recommends is involving doctors and nurses in the vettting of mobile apps and develop a consensus on trusted information.

"We have a focus on the patient experience, and we take notice of what our patients are doing. It helps to have hospital executives who are physicians and still treat patients, because that keeps leadership focused on the patient," he said.

In addition to the on-site staff, the store features charging stations and will host educational seminars on health and wellness technology.

A new Harris Poll reveals nearly half of American adults, 48 percent, are extremely interested in using smartphone and tablets for checking blood pressure. And healthcare systems are gravitating to mobile tools to save money through early intervention patient care outside of a hospital setting, according to Mony Weschler, chief applications strategist at New York's Montefiore Medical Center.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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