Irrational euphoria over mobile health

KEY TAKEAWAY: Tech mania is resurgent when it comes to mobile health . Investors are again, glancing at a clock with no hands — and dismissing the risk.  Nobody wants to be left behind in case the next “facebook” of health should appear, but the recent sale of WebMD should be a warning that there is a lot of money to be lost in the mobile health market.

The Internet is a great place to fan the flames of hype.  Mobile health startups are everywhere and they are getting a lot of money from investors who don’t want to miss the boat just in case they strike gold.   But this is all just speculation.

Patients are sick and tired of having to make an appointment to get, what they feel, is routine health maintenance .  Let’s face it, if you have the flu the last thing you want to leave the house to ask your doctor for an Rx. However, a lot of doctors have brought this on themselves.

Millennials, now the biggest demographic segment, think of healthcare the same way they think of going to the market: go in, walk out with a product (Rx). Too many physicians have become accustomed to treating the condition rather than the patient and this has led to patients wanting and needing a better solution than making an appointment and waiting to be seen by a HCP. However, the healthcare industry is fighting back and trying to get better.

There’s a good chance that you received a text or an email from your doctor after your last visit to rate your experience.  They are trying to be more patient focused and encourage feedback from patients in a competitive market where patients re becoming more empowered.

But what about mobile health? Should a doctor, you don’t know and who doesn’t know you, really recommend treatment options?  Maybe for some conditions, but the doctor’s I have talked with are largely against it because of potential legal and reimbursement issues.  What happens, for example, if someone who is complaining about a chest cold really has pneumonia?

Patient’s believe the whole process of making an appointment, waiting for the doctor and then going to the drug store to get an Rx is a pain in the ass in a time compressed economy. I think there is room for some type of mobile health, but before anyone starts shoveling money into all these startups they had better ask “have you checked with patients first?”

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