March 27, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Steve Jobs’ impressive and lengthy biography describes many twists and turns across a career that included the co-founding of the personal computer industry and the total transformation of the mobile phone product category. After a lost decade, Jobs’ big turnaround came from two unlikely protagonists–Woody and Buzz Lightyear. As much as anyone else, these two Toy Story characters – created under the Pixar umbrella – resurrected a career that appeared to be abandoned on the scrap heap of high tech careers.
At the heart of the story, was a central belief that every object – living and inanimate – had an essence or a purpose that went beyond the immediate perception. For those of us who create things, communicating that central purpose is vital to realizing the potential of the creation. Obviously, the ability of Pixar to communicate this essence was the key to their billion dollar financial success.
At Preventice, we create technology that helps to provide a better understanding of the underlying DNA that connects patients with their doctors and health care providers. We will succeed as a company to the extent that we can extract that DNA and inject it into the solutions that we build. I am convinced that the singular focus that Pixar had on its characters works well for any company that is creating something new.
Given the enormity of the gap created by patients who fail to hold up their end of the health care contract, the creation of ways to close that gap is our primary principle. If we can do this, it could be paramount to launching more than a couple of Toy Story like franchises.
March 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Everyone in the industry knows mobile health (mHealth) is experiencing explosive growth. A recent report out by Massachusetts-based BCC Research forecasts the market to grow by more than 130 percent over the next four years. This results in a global business of $27.3 billion by the middle of the decade.
While venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are all looking for major payoffs that result from this type of heady growth, something far more fundamental is at play–how the health care industry interacts with the patients they serve.
Over the past five years, we’ve worked with some of the world’s leading life science companies and initially, mobile apps were viewed as cosmetic add-ons; pure brand programs that had all of the clinical value of a new logo or ad campaign. But now, strategies are evolving as the clinical power of mobile technology is becoming apparent. The power of mobile health–and ultimately its success–is in delivering care to people wherever they are and in ways that can transform their lives and make health care more cost effective.
For instance, the CARD application, which Preventice developed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, makes it easier for people with skin allergies (also known as contact dermatitis) to manage their allergies and avoid unwanted trips to the doctor by giving them immediate, anytime access to the world’s most complete list of known allergens via their iPhone or iPad. CARD addresses a real clinical need in a way that is user friendly and accessible to anyone with access to a smartphone or tablet.
So, while it’s easy to be impressed by the financial and economic potential of mobile health, the ultimate measure of success will not be our ability to deliver financial dividends, but our capactiy to address clinical needs and reduce health care spending in ways that fit the reality of how we live, work and receive care. At Preventice, we know this outcome will not come easy, but we’re prepared to earn it every day. We welcome this challenge because we believe that, in conjunction with our strategic partners, we have the potential to do great things for people around the world.
March 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Unless you spent last week on the dark side of the moon, you probably noted that the technology highlight of the week was the announcement of the new iPad. It doesn’t seem to have a name right now, it’s just new. Industry pundits report that Apple plans to sell one million of these beautiful devices on the first day – this all for a product category that is only a couple of years old.
The impact of the iPad on the medical profession is already clear. Over 20 percent of U.S. doctors use an iPad for some type of medical purpose. In Europe, the usage exceeds 25 percent. No other device has ever had such an impact on a profession as the iPad has had on the global community of doctors.
While much of the focus of the mobile health industry has been on the adoption of technology by consumers, the use of technology by doctors is equally important. Fundamentally, mobile health solutions will succeed when they connect doctors with their patients using a common language. The iPad is clearly plays a role in this process.
We understand that making this process engaging for doctors is key to the success of the entire solution. So, we have an aggressive iPad development effort underway here at Preventice that includes building applications doctors can use to monitor the health and progress of their patients.
Of course, patients also stand to benefit from these applications. One example of an application that enhances the doctor-patient relationship is HealthClips Rx, which converts traditional patient training into exciting and interactive videos for patients to read on their iPads. Having better informed patients and improved ways for doctors to interact with them is a nice way to use a new beautiful device.
March 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I watched an interesting research presentation on the morning news about changes in our culture resulting from the onset of the mobile age. The primary point of the research was that we have become so dependent on our mobile phones that we’ve started to back away from human relationships. The success of Apple’s Siri character has only made the problem worse, as “she” is always available to talk to us about what is going on in our lives and is often the conduit for relaying the iPhone4 users’ intimate and personal thoughts. Cute, but not conducive to a high emotional IQ.
The Siri example provides good advice to those of us who are building products that help connect patients to their health care providers. Many first-generation apps contribute to this increasing alienation because they simply replace humans with advice dispensed from a smart phone. They are technologically elegant, but only contribute to the growing disconnect between patients and the health care industry.
By focusing on using technology, including smart phones and tablets, as a way to build connections, rather than negating the need for human relationships, mobile health will be most effective. The technology allows a doctor or other care provider to have conversations through a technological conduit and the mobile health application will be driven by a care plan that was built by a doctor for a specific individual. Reminders and messages then follow doctor’s orders, and are not simply spit out by a piece of inanimate software.
When we realize our mission of building a connection and a common language between patients and those who work to keep them healthy, we will advance the cause of mobile health. Increasing patient engagement will result from stronger -not fewer- relationships. Sorry Siri, you’ll have to stick to providing directions to the nearest restaurant.
March 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
How can we participate in the creation of the mobile health industry? We must capture the opportunity of mobility and meet the overwhelming demand for better health care? Like Apple did with the iPod and iPhone, we face the challenge of creating a new category from scratch. The infrastructure for mobile health is only beginning to emerge. Fortunately, these structural barriers are starting to come down.
First, as mobile health has moved from a consumer “app” market to one that is truly clinical in nature, it has bumped up against the reality of a highly regulated health care marketplace. When mobile health solutions take ownership of health outcomes in the same way that medical device companies do, we cross the line that puts us in the domain of Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Electronics regulation. Fortunately, early pioneers forged this path within the past two years and government regulators are now moving to approve mobile devices in a more straightforward fashion.
Second, someone ultimately has to pay for the technology. Again, the news here is largely positive. Increasingly, mobile devices and treatments qualify for traditional reimbursement codes that drive transactions between the payers and health care providers. While payers are cautious about new technology, they increasingly recognize that the cost of emerging mobile health solutions are magnitudes cheaper than the products they replace.
But the big picture is even more positive for the payment of mobile solutions. Because of the significant benefits to patients, a wide range of companies are stepping up to pay for these applications. Life science companies see an opportunity to sell more products and improve outcomes by supplementing their core (and reimbursable) products with mobile offerings. Similarly, health care providers are finding they can invest in mobile health if it allows them to reduce their expense by more than the cost of other technology for a specific procedure.
Preventice understands the realities of how health care is delivered and how mobile health – when it’s more than just an app – has the potential to drive significant changes and improvements. We serve the traditional health care industry with exciting new solutions that help patients engage and take ownership of their care and that will reach individuals who have not had access to affordable care in the past.
March 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Welcome to the Continuous Care Blog. I’m Michael Emerson, the senior vice president of marketing at Preventice, a company built on a vision that technology can engage individuals in their care plans and lead to improved health care outcomes. Our company stands at the intersection of two of the greatest industries of our generation: health care and mobile technology.
Health care is one of the world’s oldest industries and one that is desperately looking for answers to intractable questions about access, effectiveness, and affordability. Mobile technology, on the other hand, is one the world’s newest and fastest growing industries and it has the potential to affect nearly everything that we do.
I write this blog while attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. With nearly 70,000 attendees, the conference celebrates the growth of an industry that started just 25 years ago. When “mobility” came into our lives in the mid 1980s, it required a small suitcase for transit and a running car to power. Like many new products, it was affordable by only a select few.
Obviously, the size of the devices has shrunk while their capabilities continue to increase rapidly. What strikes me is the incredible breadth of impact that mobile has had on our world. It has changed an entire generation who now communicate through mobile devices with the same ease as Baby Boomers did with landline telephones. But most importantly, the industry is owned by the global community, not any single organization or region. Mobile phones have enabled revolutions in the Middle East and now are connecting much of the third world to the digital world.
In a keynote on the emergence of mobile health, the vice president of Qualcomm’s health care division pointed out that mobile health lags behind the explosive growth of some other sub-categories of the mobile industry. While slower, it is still well ahead of the early growth curve of the MP3 category, which Apple now dominates with its iPod product. We all know how that category exploded into our lives. In the weeks ahead, I will look at emerging forces that will assuredly put mobile health on a much faster growth track over the next five years.
What the iPod taught everyone in business is that consumers like the convenience of capabilities that fit in their pocket. At Preventice, we’re building products on the belief that health care will best be consumed when it travels with us while we live out our daily lives.
Enjoy the journey and come along with us while we contribute to an industry that has far more potential to change the world than the iPod did a decade ago.