Another week, more health news

drugcostsSen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Thursday launched an investigation into soaring generic drug prices. “We are conducting an investigation into the recent staggering price increases for generic drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses,” Sanders, chairman of a Senate health care subcommittee, and Cummings, ranking member of the House oversight committee, wrote in letters to 14 pharmaceutical companies.

Apple’s Health App Is One Big Empty Promise.  The challenge for Apple is that the Health app, by itself, doesn’t do anything. It’s dependent on other apps to feed it nutrition data, workout sessions, and vital signs via Apple’s HealthKit software, which developers build into their offerings. We were supposed to start using Apple’s Health app weeks ago, when iOS 8 launched. But shortly after Apple rolled out its new mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, it abruptly yanked health and fitness apps using its new HealthKit software from the App Store—and forced them to release new versions minus HealthKit.



Breast cancer drug sales will almost double by 2023, says IMS.  Sales of breast cancer treatments are set to increase by an average of 5.8% a year in nine major markets, increasing from a value of $9.8 billion in 2013 to $18.2 billion by 2023, according to new forecasts from IMS Health.   The highest-growing segment of the market is the HER2-positive subtype, where sales are set to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6% over the period, rising from $5.6 billion to $12.5 billion, while the triple negative segment will increase at a CAGR of 4.6%, from $470 million o $760 million, it says.

Survey: 74.9 percent of US adults do not track health or fitness with devices or apps.  Close to 75 percent of adults do not use a fitness device or app to track their weight, diet, or exercise, according to a survey of 979 US adults conducted by research firm TechnologyAdvice. The survey found that 11 percent of respondents use a wearable fitness tracker, 14.1 percent use an app to track health, 14.5 percent do not track health but plan to start, and 60.4 percent do not track their health.


Facebook plots first steps into health care. The company is exploring creating online “support communities” that would connect Facebook users suffering from various ailments. A small team is also considering new “preventative care” applications that would help people improve their lifestyles.


nextgov-mediumIt seems that everyone is getting into mobile but what I don’t see or hear are consumers wants and need for mobile health.   First, let’s be clear, there is a major difference between fitness apps and “health” apps.  Fitness apps measure activity, calories etc.., health apps measure things like blood pressure and cholesterol.

I spent some time doing research for a client on mobile health and while there is a need for some apps one thing became apparent; patients want the apps to be intuitive which means they don’t have to spend a lot of time updating and entering data.   In addition, doctors health apps need to be more integrated with EHR’s.  Right now most doctors don’t care about patients mobile health apps.

Apple’s entry in mobile health with health kit is a nice store with bright neon signs but as long as 75% of consumers don’t use devices it’s a waste of space on my iPhone.  This is not to say that mobile health is not the future of personal health, I believe it is, but if healthcare companies want to get into mobile health they need to get ready now not when it really takes off.