Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Blog

Don Taylor 02-24-2016

3 things health startups need to know before going mobile

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As the Internet of Things expands to encompass more and more over time, it’s unsurprising that mobile health technology is becoming increasingly prevalent and popular. Patients are more accustomed to using mobile health tracking platforms and wearable tech each year. According to a recent Rock Health study, 30% of US smartphone users currently use at least one health app. The more people learn about this technology and the more personalized it becomes; the more people choose to use it.

While personal use seems to be on the rise, some healthcare providers and organizations have been hesitant to embrace mobile health data. This is understandable, considering the difficulties many have had with electronic health record interoperability and Meaningful Use. When it comes to healthcare provider use, Wellbridge Health has done an excellent job addressing these concerns, but not every health startup may be addressing the same concerns. These three tips could help those feeling a bit lost create an effective mobile health solution.

Be Simple & Direct

Before you begin developing your mobile health app, be sure you know exactly what you’re trying to do by going mobile. What problem are you trying to address, and how does mobility help you address it? What audiences are you trying to help with this app? If you’re going mobile simply for the sake of going mobile, you should reevaluate your strategy.

Once you’ve got a grasp on your purpose and your audience, build with consumer satisfaction in mind. Optimize your app for easy, logical navigation; your users should not be complaining that they can’t find important information. Make sure patients can clearly understand the data in the app and how it uses that data. Ensure the best possible user experience by building and testing multiple iterations of your app.

Be Interoperable

Health apps developed for individual use are great, but platforms designed to help both patients and healthcare providers will be infinitely more valuable. The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT released its Interoperability Standards Advisory for 2016 to help guide electronic health records toward true interoperability. It’s in your best interest to make use of them.

As an added bonus, Meaningful Use could very well be replaced with a new program in the near future, which may make interoperable development easier to achieve. By designing an intuitive app that gives patients easy access to their health records, and helps their healthcare providers track treatment progress and make recommendations, you’ll be creating something of value at each stage of a patient’s care.

Be Secure

One of the biggest issues with mobile health platforms and interoperability is cybersecurity. Unfortunately, as more health records, networked mobile devices, and health apps are developed, the more access points hackers have to sensitive patient data. In a recent interview with Healthcare IT News, Dr. Suzanne Swartz of the FDA referred to these cyber threats as “constant attempts at attack and intrusion.”

The Pittsburgh Business Times cited going mobile and prioritizing the security of patient data as important strategies to foster better communication — guess which one topped the list. These security breaches are HIPAA violations waiting to happen. They could result in the theft of patient identities and heavy costs for the patients, the healthcare providers, and your healthcare IT startup.

As long as you take the necessary precautions, you could create something of intrinsic value to patients and healthcare providers alike. We hope to see more startups in the healthcare technology industry create effective mobile health platforms in the year to come.

What do you look for in a mobile health app? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/mockup-iphone-app-mobile-ios-ui-865115/