I admit it. I am getting old. Most mornings I wake up and cough for 10 minutes like my Grandpa Leon did. Four o’clock seems like an absolutely reasonable time to both eat dinner in the afternoon and wake up in the morning. And just like my Grandpa, I start my day with a round of exercise.
What’s changed over the past 50 years?
After Grandpa Leon worked out, he took a “shvitz.” After I work out, I log my efforts into a mHealth app on my cell phone. And it appears I have no reason to sweat, because I am part of the growing new normal in the age of consumer-driven healthcare.
According to Manhattan Research’s 2011 Cybercitizen Health report, of people surveyed, 87% owned a smartphone, 61% downloaded a mHealth app, and 85% have used social media for health. This is such a fundamental shift from a culture around health in this country that has us lower our voice when talking about disease or hide our dieting or smoking cessation efforts from our friends and family.
In today’s world, consumers and patient across the globe are banding together to track the effectiveness of treatments on chronic conditions, encouraging each other to exercise more and eat less, and to demand accountability from manufacturers of faulty medical devices. It will be such a foreign thought for my son Ari and his generation to not seamlessly track their own health data, integrating the data into their own personal health records and their provider’s electronic health record. I can already see future eye rolling when I discuss with him the “old” days when doctors used paper records and people tracked their weight in a notebook.
Mark Blatt, MD, worldwide medical director at Intel, and one of the speakers at the upcoming HIMSS Virtual Briefing Mobile Health IT: A Glimpse into the Technologies at Work Today in Healthcare talks about his own personal experience with integrating mobile devices into his life and practice, and how important it is to find the “right device for the right task.” This, to me, seems a key insight to the overall success of mHealth within healthcare. I know that my patient behavior illustrates that the easier it is to integrate a provider’s diagnosis into my daily routine, the more likely I will follow his or her orders.
The same is true for the providers themselves. The easier it is to integrate mobile health devices into their daily workflow, the more likely it is they will embrace the process change.
Now all we have to do is design a smart phone that can handle the shvitz.