HCP’s hold the key to mobile health

imagesPOST SUMMARY: The mobile health bubble is huge right now, but in order for mobile health to really work as advertised, or hyped, HCP’s need to believe that the data is both accurate and leads to better health outcomes.One of the best and brightest physicians that I have worked with before called me yesterday  to complain about the latest mobile health app that allows physicians to meet with patients via mobile video. “When I treat a patient I want them in my office so I can see them and ask relevant questions based on my observations”.

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At least 70% of consumers reported that they’d rather have an online video visit to obtain a prescription than travel to their doctor’s office. This makes sense as the average wait time to get a doctor’s appointment is 20 days in the U.S., and doctors are often not willing to take phone calls as they can’t get reimbursed for the time they spend answering them. It’s also increasingly expensive to see the doctor; patients report that they are avoiding it altogether because of rising insurance co‐pays and deductibles.

But why are patients willing to use video instead of actually visiting their doctor?

Of all the reasons consumers provided, convenience was listed 61% of the time. Others mentioned saving time and money, avoiding germs lurking in hospitals and clinics, and the joy of being able to stay in their homes when not feeling their best. On the flip side, 36% of consumers said they were not willing to have a video visit. Some found the concept new and unfamiliar, and others didn’t understand how it would work.

But what about apps?

I am reading a preliminary research report from qual research with physicians and a majority believe that “health apps are over hyped and do not provide accurate data or meet diagnostic criteria.  “If it helps patients get control of a chronic health problem than I’m for it, but I need to see clinical proof that it actually works”, said one cardiologist.

Right now pharma needs the to integrate the tech people who are living off the bubble to bring a health scientific approach to health apps.  We need to go beyond convenience and think about the long term effect on patient outcomes. I asked my friend if he would ever meet with a patient via a mobile feed and his reply was “no, there is no way that I’m going to diagnose a patient via a video feed”.  “What about Rx refills”, I asked, to which he replied “we have a portal where patients can request refills, but I still want them in my office to monitor things like weight and don’t forget certain medications us to monitor a patient’s panel”.

The mobile health bubble is filled with a lot of hot air and eventually it’s going to burst.  [bctt tweet=”The key to mobile lies with doctors and patients alike.”]

Man inside a  bubble