Partnerships a sure-fire way to entrench mHealth

There's a terrific story this week in mHealth--and it's one every healthcare insurance company and healthcare provider should put on its must-read list. After they read it, then it's time to step up and just plain copy what is taking place.

The story focuses on how AARP is driving a research program geared toward educating, informing and enlightening its mega membership base about new mHealth tools and technologies.

The first research effort focuses on sleep trackers. AARP has brought on some powerhouse partners: Georgia Tech is handling the research, while Pfizer and UnitedHealthcare are on board as program supporters.

It's not only an exciting effort. It could be transformative, too--the research will help seniors better understand mHealth devices and tools and how such technologies can and will play a critical, positive role in healthcare.

It's not about promoting specific products or lauding certain vendors. The research is about how such devices work, the various approaches being taken, and what factors to consider when choosing mHealth tools.

While just the educational aspect creates tremendous value on its own, the collaborative nature of the partnership is an equally valuable model--and one that should be emulated.

Report after report has suggested that mHealth requires patient engagement, provider support, user incentives and payer adoption in order to move forward and make a difference. The AARP initiative boasts all that, as it does one of the most fundamental things necessary in mHealth adoption. It's informing a critical demographic, as those over 50 are the ones who will benefit most from mHealth innovations in the next several years.

Who's going to be next to jump on what is likely one of the most worthwhile mHealth bandwagons? Which healthcare organization will take the needed step, reaching out to a group such as AARP to initiate such invaluable efforts? This is clearly an opportunity where there is no reason not to forge ahead.

It's a no-brainer, as today's teens would say. - Judy (@FierceHealthIT)