2015: mHealth’s breakout year–or more of the same sideways?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/the-thinker-statue-flickr-satyakam-khadikar-480.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Adopting or Ditching It? We’re barely into September, yet the first 2015 prediction-of-a-sort is on the record from Center for Connected Health‘s Dr. Joseph Kvedar in The eHealth Blog. Does Apple HealthKit+Samsung‘s SHealth’s iterations+Google Fit+smartwatches everywhere (including LG’s G Watch R) equal $7.2 billion in wearables alone by 2018 as part of a mHealthy $49 billion by 2020? He’s optimistic, yet he hedges his bets with the caveat

“The challenge in health care is that, though we know what patients/consumers need to do to improve their health, most of them don’t want to hear about it.”

Which indicates that Dr. Kvedar has joined our small group of Thinkers puzzling out why health apps haven’t taken off beyond their Quantified Selfer early adopters and what Parks Associates termed ‘Healthy and Engaged’ [TTA 11 Aug]. With 1/3 of the purchasers of activity trackers putting them in the drawer after six months and the unstickiness of apps (80 percent are abandoned after a shocking two weeks), the winning combination isn’t obvious. But is it ‘focus on engagement’ and ‘personal, motivational and ubiquitous’? Certainly key factors, but how do we get the ‘Challenged but Mindful’ with a chronic condition–or two or three–to track and reward their real progress, even on a bad day–which an activity tracker which constantly presses you to exceed your performance has trouble gauging. (more…)

Soapbox: Kicking the ‘Tweet the Meeting’ habit

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/twitterban-590×330.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]It’s time to go cold turkey. One of the hallmarks of being active on healthcare tech or digital health scene is Twitter. Even more than LinkedIn groups, websites and blogs, it’s how increasingly we communicate with and acknowledge each other in the field. But it has its shortcomings. It’s become a chore to follow the tweetstream in my (deliberately limited) account, because there’s all that filler. I have to scroll…and scroll…to find the ‘wanna read’ nuggets by those who post ‘the good stuff’ (and you know who you are).

The volume increases dramatically during conferences. There’s good links and photos, but increasingly it’s become a festival of incidental remarks about speakers being on (sans content links), tweets about going here and there, social pictures of lunches and dinners, selfies. Increasingly, no one puts down their phone! At sessions, instead of being riveted (or not) on the speaker, attendees are glued to their phones, furiously keyboarding and tweeting…whatever. It’s insulting to the speaker who’s trying to engage with the audience, for starters. Then there are the meetings with the tweetstream posted to the side of the stage–another distraction.  Most of all, by furiously fingering, aren’t you cheating yourself of the conference experience for which you or someone has paid dearly? Isn’t the point of being there human contact and time off the screen?

Carolyn Thomas, Canada’s own ‘Ethical Nag’ and ‘Heart Sister’, describes kicking Obsessive Live-Tweeting at Conferences far more wittily in How we got sucked into live-tweeting at conferences. An excerpt:

For too long, I’d been telling myself:

–that live-tweeting isn’t a problem for me
–that I could quit anytime
–that the tweets I send to my Twitter followers while listening to a conference speaker onstage are actually interesting, high-quality messages
–that it must be okay because everybody else in the audience is doing it, too

But now I know that it’s time to quit cold-turkey.

Can self-tracking drive you crazy?

Fine weekend reading. It’s isn’t often that this Editor picks up an article headline ‘as is’ for our readers, but on this fine Saturday morning she does not want to mess with perfection! Carolyn Thomas, a previous Soapboxer and a leading Canadian women’s heart health/health ethics advocate, takes on the Quantified Selfers and, in the view of this Editor, the Digital Health Hypester Horde (D3H) with a bristling critique in The Ethical Nag. Yes, Virginia, there can be such a thing as too much chocolate and too much QSing. Do you really want to live in a heightened state of endless anxiety, with your day depending on minor result twitches? She presents an exchange between a leading heart patient/advocate, Hugo Campos, on Twitter, endlessly self-monitoring via AliveCor, who is having a PVC (skipped beat) episode that is best explained by…anxiety. One early QSer of 40 different health measurements daily abandoned her very public quest stating “Each day my self-worth was tied to the data…I won’t let it be an instrument of self-torture. Any. More.” And there is the time bomb of genetic testing–genomics, a source of endless wonder in the D3H world. A must read (any article that weaves in quotes from Deming and Serres has to be!) Also thank you Carolyn for the citation of The Gimlet Eye’s commentary on the Thomas Goetz ‘diabetic paradox’ (canary in the mine) article.