Monday, March 17, 2014

Mobile Application for Health Information

I saw a posting today about a new application being developed for a mobile phone that would bring together the storage of a lot of information about the phone owner's health.  What is interesting to me is to think about whether and how it would be used.  Although I am the first to admit that I probably can't anticipate all the interesting ways that it could be used and might catch on, I am pondering what seem like some of the choices that interested individuals will have to make.

First, the application has some data that can be captured by the mobile phone itself and other data that will have to be entered.  So there are a few interesting questions here.  First, for the data that the phone captures, will the user literally have to have the device on them at all times (e.g., steps during the day)?  Will that be a difficulty?  I know that I, for one, don't always want to be carrying my phone with me.  Especially when I exercise.  I'm not sure what people think in general?

Second, even for data that the phone can collect, will it collect the data automatically once the user activates the application or will the user have to activate the application each day?  Or on each "use"?  

Third, for the data that are not collected by the mobile phone itself, will there be reminders to enter the data?  If not, will people remember?

Also, for the data not being collected by the phone itself, how often will the data be needed?

Finally, will there be something that helps individuals make sense of the sum of the data?  In other words, it is certainly nice to have all the individual pieces of data.  Heart rate.  Number of steps. Height.  Weight.  And many others.  It will be nice to have this information over time.  It will be great to visualize the information over time.  But when all is said and done, does the user of the mobile phone application simply have a series of information that is interesting and that may tell the user something or is there a more powerful way of bringing all the information together so that by recognizing patterns over time and across health parameters, the user can either be reassured that everything is okay or can be told, "it's time to get things checked out" when necessary.  

I imagine that even if the technology is not there now, as the field of electronic medical records and data security continue to evolve, and a person's medical data can be integrated into an application along with longitudinal readings from the phone and a variety of other sources, and the artificial intelligence capabilities related to health monitoring continue to evolve, a very powerful platform may emerge.  

Then, the key question is who will use it?  Will people be willing to pay for it?  And how quickly will individuals act on the information they receive?  Will individuals be more or less likely to pay attention to recommendations from an application than they are to listen to their real life health care providers?  

If they are more likely is this because of the "evidence base" being used? Is it because of a trust of technology?  Is it because it is in real time?  

Figuring out whether people are more likely to take the advice and, if so,  why, will be important for figuring out how to best use a tool like the one that is being planned to improve the health of the population as a whole and not just the health of what could be a small number of really interested users.     


  1. app utvikling

    Vi et utkast til en nydelig mobil applikasjon and vi gir oss ikke før du er 100% fornøyd. Vi jobber helst med seriøse bedrifter og personer som setter krav til sitt produkt og ønsker å lage det beste. Website:

  2. I am running an smartphone app development comapny.
    Your blog is an interesting one... Keep sharing...