Thursday, August 4, 2011

MobiHealth's scathing, yet not inaccurate, critique of mHealth

MobiHealth News publishes on the ever-evolving and expanding health tech market. Last month, there was a fairly damning piece on why Silicon Valley often misses the point in its healthcare tech development. I'm less interested in the commentary about Google Health (now defunct), although I could go on for quite some time about the Google development methods, which I think often waste great opportunities.

Versel, the author of the piece, does a good job of highlighting the problems with Rock Health, a health incubator that has baffled me since its formal public appearance earlier this spring. Rock Health solicited innovators/developers to be part of the health tech incubator by announcing they didn't care if applicants had health experience. While outsiders do bring important innovative approaches to existing industries/practices, there was something arrogant about Rock Health's call for inventors. Though the MobiHealth article suggested there was only one health expert on Rock Health's team, that isn't actually true.

I would maintain that there needs to be more health savvy members in a health technology team than I've seen. My stint working in health technology has been brief so far, but I found there was a lot of redundancy. The tech world's approach to health education and behavior change has given short shrift to existing research that preceded contemporary digital technologies. Too often, these startups want to simply ignore the literature and research around these issues, as though approaching things from consumer + digital worlds will be the salve to the difficulties in implementing improvements in health (for both the individual and the population at large).

As always, I am a bit of a relativist on these issues. I think it's quite obvious that there's plenty of need for improvements to healthcare management (from any perspective, whether it's that of insurers, providers, or patients). I also realize that the startup world prioritizes the minimal viable product (MVP) as proof of concept. There's something incoherent, though, in melding those worlds. There must be a middle way, and it's something I'd like to be part of.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I work in public health, and the organization that I work for is getting jumping on the mhealth bandwagon, without much critical relection. I have been looking for scholarly critiques of mhealth (especially its use in global south) to share with colleagues but have not found much. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks