Every week FierceMobileHealthcare reports on vendors developing wearable devices, such as smartwatches and biometric bands, and new mHealth apps promising to monitor everything from heart rates to glucose to perspiration.
Recently I opined in a commentary that all the development should be tapping expertise from those managing healthcare, paying for healthcare and in-the-trenches in providing care. And news comes this week that device and app makers are hiring medical scientists and engineers, and tapping the expertise of physicians and tech-savvy medical professionals to develop what everyone hopes will be compelling consumer products. Even medical professionals are developing new mHealth devices based on their experience in healthcare situations and the ways they believe new technology can provide a higher quality of care while also keeping costs down.
So that's a puzzle piece once missing and now found that will ensure mHealth tech moves forward in a strong direction. But there are two other just as significant pieces still missing.
One I'm focusing on today is the fact there has been little mention of device makers, app developers or mHealth services surveying consumers, polling patients and asking medical professionals about what specific products are wanted and needed, and what features should be a primary focus in wearable mHealth devices.
I realize that some industry research firms likely have conducted polls to find out how many consumers are interested in using such devices and how they feel about related issues--such as data confidentiality--but I'd like to see a large, encompassing survey that asks consumers what specific features they would like to see. That hasn't been done, from what I've read.
This sort of research likely is being conducted in the background by vendors for their own proprietary development needs, but it's also something industry research firms should be working on so new products can be assessed in terms of feasibility and demand.
User input, consumer insight, patient needs and healthcare professional guidance are crucial to wearable devices and apps aimed at helping keeping people healthy, helping the sick get better and providing better tools for healthcare professionals to perform their jobs.
Let's hope someone is gathering vital feedback from users and tomorrow's consumers on what wearables should be providing, what apps are truly useful and what innovations consumers and patients are hoping for in a short time.
Next week stay tuned as my focus turns to the third missing puzzle piece, one which likely will pose a big challenge to not only wearables makers and app developers, but also to consumer adoption and the embrace of wearable mHealth devices. Here's a hint: K-I-S-S. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)