According to a reasearch2guidance blog post publicising a new report, the most successful free health and fitness apps accumulated 5.5 million downloads on average since their first appearance in the Apple App Store. However, there are significant performance gaps that highlight the importance of choosing the right platform, app category and device choice for mHealth publishers.
research2guidance is offering a free 27-page report on the current smartphone app market (the ninth edition). Entitled Building And Marketing A Mobile App Will Have Bigger Impact Than Commercialization Of Internet it highlights how:
- App publishers and companies will be forced to keep track of at least the most important distribution channels for their most important target groups. Building and marketing an app is therefore becoming an important part of businesses. It will even have a bigger impact than the commercialization of the internet economy at the beginning of the century.
- Diversity of mobile operating systems will increase, offering new opportunities, especially for 2nd tier device manufacturers.
- App development will become more complex. For developers the pressure to reach out to new target groups who are demanding innovation is rising.
The AllAfrica website picks up on a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India report report launched at the annual Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, 25-28 February. It highlights the life-saving potential of SMS services (such as the Bangladeshi Aponjon service) but also points out that so far take up has been slow in Africa. Africa: Mhealth ‘Could Save a Million African Lives By 2017’
The Good Governance Institute (GGI) has been working with Birmingham City Council (BCC) to develop a quality assurance programme for Birmingham’s telecare service. In October 2011 Birmingham contracted with Tunstall to increase its user numbers to 25,000 (now 27,000 according to the latest press release) in three years. Independent quality assurance was part of the commitment then. [TTA Oct 2011] The GGI has now published a report Birmingham Telecare Service: Establishing an independent quality assurance process which “documents in full the first stage of this work, and the framework for the ongoing programme.” Although dated October 2012 it has only just been cleared for release. This may be of use to the 3ML Pathfinder sites as well as telecare services. The GGI also has some user interviews on video, here. Download the report here (PDF)
The BBC Media Action charity (formerly the BBC World Service Trust) has published an excellent – of course – ‘policy paper’ on the use of mobile phones in healthcare for “poor, illiterate and marginalised populations”. It says “…there is enough experience – and the beginnings of an evidence base – to argue that mHealth deserves serious attention from any development actor seeking to improve global health.” Not only that, it is possible for it to “scale in a cost-effective, financially sustainable way”. Download the 24-page PDF here: Health on the move.
This important report was published last Friday. Like this editor, readers will surely thank the authors for making such a disparate mixture of elements readable and for picking their way through the implications for the 3ML campaign as well as the many clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which will take over the reins (or should that be pick up the pieces?) of the NHS across England and Wales in April.
I’m not going to attempt to summarise the report. The four-page Executive Summary contains three tables of essential findings and is the place to start. Despite, or perhaps because of, the general failure of the Telehealth Hub to achieve wider adoption locally, some significant lessons have been learned. TTA readers will, no doubt, comment on those lessons as they see them. Perhaps we should regard the work done by the Hub as a precursor to that which will be done by the 3ML Pathfinder sites. Let’s hope that they are studying this report closely and take note of this key comment by one of the Hub partners:
“When I look at the aims expressed, what strikes me is the ‘tele’ not the condition. We would write these aims differently now – whether because of learning or the fact that the environment changes. The risk now is that local CCGs only think in terms of local pathways and not the wider patient needs.”
The 2020Health evaluation of the Yorkshire ‘Telehealth Hub’ project can be downloaded from the 2020health press release Telehealth does produce savings.
Oh, and for any non-UK readers who may be confused by ‘Yorkshire’ in the title, the area covered by the Hub does not include North Yorkshire and York (NYY) which has famously failed to scale up its telehealth project also, but at more than three times the cost.