Is a Lack of Effective Marketing Holding mHealth Back?

Let me preface this post with an acknowledgement of my relative inexperience in healthcare.  I have always thought that I stayed at least relatively informed of what was going on in the world in general, but these last few months of writing this blog along with a few others in this network has truly opened my eyes to my ignorance.

I am the type of person that loves to learn new things.  I may not know anything about a specific topic, but if someone is teaching I will always listen because understanding new things fascinates me.  When this opportunity first came up I saw it as a way to help my brother, who is the founder of emrandhippa.com and healthcarescene.com, as well as a way to stay busy while awaiting some training.

In the months that have followed I have been completely blown away  by the technology that is out there, and the companies that are providing it.  It isn’t even hard to find an article or press release about a new gadget or app that completely blows my mind.  Maybe this is sue to my relative inexperience, but I also think it is in large part do to the amazing things that developers are creating.

It was not that long ago that all a cell phone did was make calls and maybe send text messages.  Then they added cameras which was pretty cool.  Now those cameras are better than the stand alone digital camera that I bought less than 3 years ago.  Now you can access the internet from anywhere you get cell service.  We aren’t just talking about box scores from sporting events or headline news, but the internet in all its glory.

Smartphones are cool for internet access if nothing else, but my recent “education” has taught me that we have only scratched the surface.  We now have microscope cameras, blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, fitness trackers, and even “nano-tatoos” that provide a range of information.

What I don’t understand is why so few people know about it?

As I try and talk with friends and family, outside of my healthcare IT brother, they have no idea that these things even exist.  They are generally aware that there are apps for just about anything, but they have no idea the power some of these apps have.

The power that I am referring to is the power to save lives.

I can’t help but wonder if a lack of marketing to the public has to do with this?  Are these developing companies still too small and broke to really get their products out there?  I don’t claim to be a marketing or business genius, or even an amateur for that matter, but if people don’t know about your product they can’t buy it.

I am not even referring to these companies becoming rich as much as I am referring to the improvement in health that more people could be enjoying if they only knew about these devices.  As I write this it strikes me that it may be the sheer number of apps and gadgets out there that is preventing their widespread adoption.

Anyone with a little programming experience and $10 a month for a website can create a “healthcare app”, so how are people supposed to wade through all the garbage to find the truly valuable ones?  Maybe this is where the FDA, or some other large organization needs to step in and provide some real oversight of these devices.

If people had a source to go to for accurate information I can’t help but think they would use it.  People visit Kelly Blue Book, and Edmunds, and a handful of other sites for information about cars, why wouldn’t they so the same thing if a reliable healthcare company presented a valuable overview of the good stuff out there.

Maybe I am displaying my ignorance with this post, but with the amazing technology that is out there, and the relative small distribution of quality apps and gadgets I can’t help but wonder what is holding it back?

About the author

David Lynn

David Lynn

1 Comment

  • You have a point there and yes, there is so much more that can be done in creating the awareness needed to shift the momentum so adoption is generated and a critical mass achieved. But like in most new industry with a technological basis, it is while before the customer experience, technology interoperability and financial models are well aligned enough for relevant adoption to be felt. One of the key issues I see emerging is the working in a vacuum that technology companies sometimes do, without adequate involvement from the real power centre in the healthcare ecosystem – the doctor, and the much touted future patient centricity expected. Many bridges still need to be crossed. I too await this in anticipation.

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