What do patients want in “mobile health”

POST SUMMARY: What patients want/need in mobile health is much different than what marketers believe “we want”.  There are some opportunities but it’s going to take time and money to get right.


The final findings from some research I led last month are starting to hit and my client is allowing me to talk about it here for the first time.  The objective was to determine what consumers want in mobile health and explore some possible opportunities.  Here are the top line findings..

(1) The number one desired feature in mobile health is both the patients’ ability to schedule medical appointments and one place where ALL their medical records are stored.  This is especially true for patients who see multiple doctors and specialists.

(2) Patients do not want to download health apps (health apps defined as medical information) but they want access to health information on mobile devices so they can access information on health conditions/medications.


(3) Some patients would like to monitor chronic health conditions via their mobile devices but the apps have to be intuitive.  Top requests by health condition.. MS, Diabetes and Womens Health.  They want very much to be able to share the data with their HCP.

(5) Privacy is becoming more important for patients with mobile health.  The privacy issues concern others seeing their health data (via apps) and possible medical identity theft.

(6) One “portal” for everything is most desired, preferably through insurers, although younger demographics were concerned about switching jobs & insurers.

(7) Interestingly eMail from pharma companies informing patients to stay on therapy was not received well.  There could be value but it varies widely by health condition.

(8) Frustration with non-mobile sites is very high.  This is especially true when people are using tablets and are not given the option of viewing the full site.


There were a lot of opportunities to integrate health information, EHR’s and health apps, but there is a big gap in what patients expect and what’s available.

2 thoughts on “What do patients want in “mobile health”

  1. Love your blog & topics. Is the research you mentioned on “What patients want from mobile health” qual or quant? Anything else you might be able to share from your work? Good, relevant stuff!

  2. No access to you own health records kept by your hospital or physician?
    Create your own independent Electronic Health Record (iEHR)

    eHealth or mHealth is considered to be the next big ‘thing’ after the social networks. Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft and many industries like Philips, Siemens and Samsung are trying to gain advantage but they are as slow and inflexible as they are rich, big and powerful. Forced by a fierce competition among them they create a well-designed web and strong media presence first, promising heaven and then start filling in the gaps. Often they repeat this ‘trick’ with just a new design, suggesting everything is new and improved.

    Influenced by the speeding technologies, business models vaporize while we are watching. Brand new ones evolve, many with the same promises in a different color and packing.
    At first glance the market shows an impressive quantity of players and indicates at the same time something is wrong in the eHealth industry. Many millions are invested in thousands of eHealth apps of which 99% are no more than gadgets. Each maybe useful for a specific group of people for a while, but very few have a real lasting future. The real ‘management capabilities’ of most gadgets vary from unreliable to poor and to insufficient. These facts start to drip into the investor’s mindset as they monitor unsustainable growth and low advertising revenues from such apps on smartphones. More and more of such experiences manifest and reluctance grows to keep investing in ‘short lived’ apps.

    The words mHealth and eHealth attract a lot of attention but very few people are prepared to study such an application in more depth if its content and features are getting more complex. For magazines and professional publications it is much more convenient to write about ‘shiny’ gadgets than to investigate, study, present and discuss complex applications with professionals for their subscribers.
    The eHealth bubble is already building. However, the next ‘eHealth success story’ is in the making, waiting to get noticed.
    Heart conditions, Diabetes, Hypertension and cancer are the most common under the chronic diseases from which about 20% or 1,500.000.000 of the world population are suffering. Tendency: increasing.

    Most individuals are tempted to use free or paid-for ‘gadgets’ that do not really contribute to a better health or result in effective communication with their physicians. Physicians cannot keep track of the data coming in from hundreds or even thousands of different apps. with little or no benefits. Motivation on both sides is missing …..
    With quality governance and support, especially the quality of life for the elderly can be preserved or improved significantly, while at the same time making health care costs more predictable for the patient at home, for physicians and for hospitals while saving costs for all parties involved.

    How is MWD® making a difference?

    MWD Health Manager iEHR includes hospital and home based strategies to optimize the management of chronic and other diseases that require permanent or temporary non-ambulant monitoring. A development we started more than 12 years ago with a PC version, 6 years later with Windows Mobile 6. Why it took so long? Windows let us down and only for the last 3 years Android smartphones were equipped with enough ‘power’ to handle the complex data and communication structures with our back-end servers. The server side software had to be redesigned adapting to the current and future smartphone capabilities.

    MWD Health Manager iEHR with its supporting smartphone apps.
    On a PC, tablet or smartphone, the application allows users to display, enter or edit health and other information. If an internet connection is available, the data is automatically uploaded to a cloud service or a hospital back-end server, from where physicians and other medical staff can access the data in real time. Communication between devices and server is done through a 264 bits SSL tunnel. All data in our cloud server(s) or on the hospital’s server is encrypted; visible and accessible only by the patient or by authorized hospitals or physicians. Not even by the MWD staff themselves. Your iEHR on a smartphone is encrypted the same way.

    Do you need a second opinion?

    Since all your data on your smartphone is always synchronized with the server(s), you can easily generate a detailed printable report on the server from your smartphone including all or some selected information from your iEHR. Send the report from the server to one or more physicians, to any other recipients or to yourself. Alternately you can offer the physician to register and have access to the iEHR on the server(s). Handy if you travel far or go on vacation and want to leave a copy with a family member.
    Individuals can manage content designated for their smartphones by themselves, i.e. including:

    Reminders for a preset’ series of actions/checks
    • Glucose
    • Hemoglobin• Blood Pressure
    • Heart Rate (e.g. before and after sport)
    • Oxygen
    • Weight
    • Temperature
    • Medications (e.g. Wi-Fi pill boxes)
    • Online appointments ( if connected with a physician)
    • Actions (anything from baby feeding times to travel schedules)

    Reminders for actions or medication intake
    • Tablets, mg, ml, units, injections• Your EHR can be made visible to multiple physicians
    • Calculated prescriptions to prepare by pharmacies
    • A food calculator which can be personalized with favorite foods returning Carbon Hydrates, Fat, Protein and Cholesterol values.
    • An Insulin calculator suggests the best quantity of bolus Insulin to be injected after taking into account a specific amount of food products, the measured blood glucose value and a number of Insulin Correction Rules (set by an authorized physician as part of a therapy).
    • Basal Insulin is automatically recorded depending on the programmed basal settings and time points advised by an authorized physician. (Also for Insulin pump users)
    • Exports to Hospital Information Systems (HIS)
    • Scheduled hospital/physician visits
    • Laboratory blood analysis values (currently server side only).
    • Recalculate reminders for actions or medications based on travelling to another Time Zone with smooth adaption over a period of 1 to max. 4 days. Returning to the ‘home’ Time Zone will reset the reminders over the same selected period into their original state. This feature is especially important for medication intake at scheduled times.
    • Physician supported online electronic consult
    • Online Appointments
    • Critical alert
    • Emergencies
    • Upload/download photos and images directly from your smartphone into selected binders, both from the individual’s and the physician’s apps.

    After I was diagnosed with Diabetes myself in 2001 and being a software designer, I started the development of an Internet based solution for doctors and patients opening new ways of communication between them. Being a diabetic on Insulin and after 2 years of disciplining myself, I was free of my insulin therapy. It worked for me and it can work for you too.
    What started as a ‘for myself’ solution became a passion for promoting diabetes awareness and providing the best possible software solution for managing any long term disease patient at home by their hospitals or by physician ..
    MWD® makes handling large numbers of non-ambulant patients easy and very efficient:

    Management by exception is the key.

    Within your EHR, you or your physician(s) can set any number of rules (we call them alerts). These rules are compared with incoming data from the smartphone app inputs through the Internet in real time (or from PC) each of such rules (alerts) can be set as ‘critical’. If a critical rule is broken a signal will appear in the hospital’s alert center or on the physician’s PC, tablet or smartphone.
    A ‘normal’ alert usually does not require immediate action but may become a reason for the physician to modify the individual therapy settings.
    A ‘critical’ alert could very well require immediate action which can vary from initiating an instant communication between physician and individual or sending an ambulance. A ‘critical’ alert can also trigger the sending of an SMS from your smartphone to any number of persons you want to inform of such an event.
    Next to the data sent from a smartphone that can trigger a critical alert automatically, individuals with permission to do so can initiate an ‘emergency’ in the alert center in a hospital or on the physician’s smartphone and can also trigger the sending of an SMS from your smartphone to any number of persons you want to inform of such an event.
    A hospital alert center can be virtually ‘manned’ by any number of physicians who can ‘select’ an alert from the alert center and follow up on the alert on his own PC, tablet or smartphone.
    As long as a critical alert or emergency is not marked as handled, critical alerts remain active in the alert center or on the physician’s PC, tablet or smartphone.
    1. MWD Health Manager, the Internet application supporting PocketMWD® forthe patient and PocketMWDd® for the physician
    2. PocketMWD® is the patient’s app which runs on any Android smartphone from version 2.3 or higher The app can be used to create your own EHR with all it functionality fully independent from a physician or hospital
    3. PocketMWDd® is the physician’s app which runs on any Android smartphone or tablet from version 4.0 or higher

    Your iEHR and the data received from your smartphone is automatically analyzed in the background. Based on the FULL history of your data MWD Health Manager will return warnings, trends or the ‘you are good’ messages to you and, if authorized, to your Health Care Provider, hospital or physician.
    To get in the most comfortable position, all you’re Health Care Provider, hospital or physician has to do, is to register with MWD after which you can authorize all or one of them to manage or just view your iEHR.

    • Therapies, reminders or alerts created by your authorized physician cannot be changed or removed by yourself
    • Therapies, reminders or alerts created by yourself cannot be changed or removed by your authorized physician

    Our experience over the past years shows that there is no need for complex data transfer procedures from home diagnostic equipment or gadgets to the MWD Health Manager. Compared to high-end diagnostic equipment most gadgets provide unstable and therefore unreliable data.
    Our app will tell the individual what to do, when to do it and which data to input on his or her smartphone. Keeping things simple for all participants is our main focus. Of course users can keep using their favorite gadgets.
    With your help we can make the difference and get ‘noticed’.
    Contrary to many attractive websites loaded with ‘facts and promises’ prior to offering the real product, our product is already operational now and ready for use.
    We have received many encouraging reactions from all over the world for our product by hospital managers, physicians and by individuals.

    More than 5,500 captions, medical expressions, texts, and documents have already been translated from English into German, Dutch, Chinese or are in the process of translating by trusted medical specialists from English into Spanish, Arabic, French, Turkish, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Russian.

    Maybe you are not in the need for an iEHR yourself, but surely within your circle of family and friends you know someone who might be grateful for your advice to take a look at this page..

    • so get the word out and make some noise for us about this product.

    Your MWD Health Manager iEHR Team.

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