It’s a game-changer if it has the potential to change the outcomes. We often see how new technology creates a big shift in the market.
Uber car service has been taking hold in large cities over the past few years. It’s even come to Ann Arbor. Is it a game-changer in local transportation? Looks like it. I know there is plenty of controversy right now about Uber and their business practices, but you have to admit they have figured out how to leverage GPS technology and mobile devices in new ways. I experienced this first hand recently when I used an Uber to get to the airport. No question it was easy and convenient.
And that’s what consumers look for in the products and services they buy: easy, reliable, convenient, and low cost. We all love that one-click purchasing on Amazon: buy a book and it immediately downloads to our Kindle readers — a game-changer in the book business!
As health care IT leaders, we are sometimes criticized for being behind in adopting new technology. We, as consumers, experience the same cool apps and convenient online services that everyone else does. Our users wonder why we aren’t deploying equally easy apps.
Apps that report the wait times for ED and urgent care are becoming common. Apps that capture self-reported health care data are also becoming more common. Apps that provide internal building way finding through the maze of hallways in many health care facilities are becoming more common, too. But there are many more opportunities within health care. We see the ways that technology is leveraged in all parts of our lives — we expect it and even take it for granted. It’s past time that we start applying more of these to health care.
My daughter in Boston is a new mom, her baby arrived two weeks early. The first weeks at home for parents and baby are a challenge on many fronts. Just keeping track of a newborn’s inputs and the outputs can be a project — especially when there are short term weight gain goals. As a tech-savvy new mom, my daughter thought — “there must be an app for that.” There were many options; she chose BabyFeed. Mom and Dad update data during the day and overnight on their mobile devices using their shared baby account. It helps them remember the last feeding time, the amount, how many wet diapers… you get the picture. When I saw the app, the CIO and grandma in me thought it should be uploaded through a patient portal so their pediatrician can see the summary and graphs at their next visit.
Google Glass and Apple HealthKit hold promise to be game-changers in health care. There are plenty of smart folks doing exciting pilots. I’m watching these new developments with interest. What are your thoughts and ideas on apps to improve the patient experience and health outcomes?