Mobile users are managing health in new ways:

In the digital age, the regular smartphone user may know more about their vitals than their doctors do. Nearly 60% of US smartphone owners use phones to manage health. With mobile usage becoming the norm, and wearables such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit becoming more and more useful, why aren’t there any platforms that connect the user to their doctor? Why haven’t consumer-facing healthcare services taken advantage of the tiny computer that is in every single user’s pocket?

As of 2016, 76% of Canadians own a smartphone—that’s 3 out of every 4 Canadians currently using a smartphone. Users are already managing their health on multiple popular platforms such as MyFitnessPal, Fooducate and Instant Heart Rate. These apps offer lots of different opportunities to improve the health of their users, but they’re all lacking one thing: the expertise and knowledge from the institutions that have provided people with valuable information and recommendations far before smartphones ever existed.  

Why haven’t healthcare providers taken advantage?

Despite the wide reception of health and fitness apps, healthcare institutions  are still hesitant to join in.This is mainly because of the misperception that baby boomers aren’t technically-inclined or willing to adapt to new technology.

If this were true, it would make perfect sense, because of this aging generation’s increasing dependency on the healthcare industry and in the result; funding of it. But that just isn’t the case, a recent study by Nielsen reported that during mealtime, baby boomers are most distracted by technology out of any generation.

Of course, this generation is far less social media-crazed than the younger snake people, but that is because they view mobile technology differently. Boomers believe mobile tech is freeing and connects them to a world otherwise unreachable, where snake people are digitally native and don’t know the difference.

When a boomer is going to take the time to figure out a new mobile platform, it is likely going to be something that makes their current lifestyle easier for them. As a result, apps created for companies such as Starbucks and Shoppers Drug Mart that fuse mobile payment and consumer loyalty have become wildly popular.

Many people in this age demographic are approaching their golden years. Although these years are considered to be the greatest in a person’s life, it’s also the period in which we’re most likely to develop chronic health issues. Mobile tech can give people suffering from chronic pain a bit more freedom.

This is why we need mobile healthcare, also known as mHealth. These mobile platforms are being developed for multiple different facets in this industry. mHealth platforms aim to blend different health services with advanced and personalized patient care.

According to World Health Organization, the most popular mHealth platforms include services like:

  • Call centres/health care telephone help lines (59%)
  • Emergency toll-free telephone services (55%)
  • Emergency Assistance (54%)
  • Mobile telemedicine (49%)

The opportunity

mHealth is an increasingly valuable and effective tool to help remain relevant to younger generations, while also providing advanced solutions to older generations that are in need of more in-depth care. mHealth does this by: providing location-based services, tracking vitals, instant feedback, real-time documentation, testing for diseases.

Healthcare institutions that digital technologies will be able to give their patients the ability to take the institution’s experience home with them to further their care. mHealth builds patient engagement. It helps keep patients connected with their care providers and let’s them be more active in their healthcare.

What are you doing to expand your connection to your patients? How are you using digital technology to help engage? We would love to hear from you and show you how our expertise and knowledge can evolve yours.

~Andrew

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  • Great read to extend the conversation about MHealth – #digiceuticals: “Digital treatments can be real medicine” – technologyreview.com/s/604053/can-d… post – cc: #CDNhealth #healthtech