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article imageReitzin: ‘We need to bring healthcare closer to Silicon Valley’

By Michael Essany     Jul 30, 2014 in Health
Boston - While health apps hold substantial future promise in fulfilling the goals of greater wellness and healthcare delivery, much will depend on issues of trust, utility, and convenience.
Jared Reitzin, CEO and owner of mobileStorm, believes big data will revolutionize healthcare. But he also thinks that — in addition to being trustworthy and easy to use — apps need to be individualized and engaging.
Reitzin predicted during his panel discussion at mHealth + Telehealth World 2014 in Boston last week that gamification will help motivate healthy behaviors in consumers. Currently, however, the lackluster design of many health apps is "a really big problem."
"Healthcare needs to strive for simplicity in a way that Apple did under Steve Jobs," Reitzin is quoted by Clinical Innovation + Technology. “We need to bring healthcare closer to Silicon Valley.”
In other words, the most successful apps will be ones that consumers can't resist.
“If people find healthcare apps difficult or dull, they’ll opt out,” Reitzin notes.
Success will accrue when data accessibility is a given, which will also require a national network of linked health information buttressed by strong authentication and transparency.
That's another spoke in the wheel of the digital healthcare world.
"We have to be a paragon of integrity and not break trust,” Reitzin contends.
That concern is backed up by others in the healthcare arena, including Mansur Hasib, DSc, a member of the Cybersecurity faculty at Capitol College and former CIO at the Baltimore City Health Department.
"Trust begins by establishing with patients that in many ways, the paper record actually is less secure than EHRs (electronic health records)," Hasib says.
As data become digital and accessible to patients, they would ultimately own it, Hasib notes.
“I don’t think we’ve hit the sweet spot yet,” says Neil Pierce, enterprise business lead of e-communications at Humana. When apps improve, he believes moving people from issues of insurance to active engagement with wellness will offer great potential.
That "sweet spot" also involves moving data in electronic form which can travel from one setting to the next utilizing mobile apps, according to Chris Boyer, associate vice president, digital strategy, at North Shore-LIJ Health System.
In the meantime, rallying the same kind of creativity in development of healthcare and wellness apps that entertainment and gaming have perfected will make all the difference.
"There's no reason why health apps can't be enjoyable and captivating," Reitzin insists. "That's where the market will be going."
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