Internet user experience expert Joe Arcuri helps cut through the confusion when it comes to...
Mobile Healthcare Industry
The majority of American consumers are accus-tomed to going online when in buying mode, and healthcare is no different. According to the Pew Internet Project, 8 in 10 Internet users, or 61 percent of U.S. adults, have looked online for health information, with 6 in 10 of so-called “e-patients” accessing peer-generated health information such as blog posts, doctor/hospital ratings, podcasts or customized health news updates.
What differentiates this form of buyer research, review and self-education, asserts Pew, is that most people still want to consult a health professional. For so-called “e-patients,” the Internet “is a just-in-time information device that people can tap into wherever they are, whenever they need it, connecting with whatever source they believe will help them at that moment,” writes Pew, “but the kinds of health information sought and found online are different from what people can glean from most traditional sources. Ultimately, “the Internet does not replace health professionals.”9
Case in point: the efficacy of mobile solutions in medication adherence. There is no disputing the need for some strong medicine in this area: according to a 2009 report from the New England Healthcare Institute, up to one-half of patients in the U.S. do not take their medications as instructed, leading to poorer health, more frequent hospitalization, a higher risk of death and $290 billion each year in increased medical costs.10
Are mobile “adherence monitors” such as Internet-based feedback programs, mobile wireless biometric readers or text message-enabled pill bottles the solution? According to Dan Vasella, chairman and CEO of pharma giant Novartis, the answer is no. “These solutions are all fine and good, but I do not believe these technical approaches will solve the equation,” said Vasella at the 2009 World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. “Patients are not just machines. Patients are human beings with social, biological and psychological aspects that need to be addressed if these solutions are to be effective.”11