The Rise of the mHealth Industry

August 16, 2013 Pivotal Labs

Guest post by Giancarlo De Lio, Co-Founder of VitalHub


Prior to 2007, the mobile environment was very constricted. The iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone didn’t exist. The majority of professionals were using BlackBerries and a laptop running Windows OS. While mobile innovation has progressed rapidly for industries such as media and retail, Mobile Health still feels like the PC industry in the early ’80s. We remain at the beginning of an mHealth revolution. It’s been gradually happening as hospitals like The Ottawa Hospital, Downtown Urgent Care in St. Louis, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and Boston Children’s Hospital deploy mobile technologies in various areas of their healthcare facilities.

Private practices are also adopting digital solutions at a steady, and annually increasing, pace. Solutions such as electronic health records systems, mobile apps like Glooko or Better, and patient web portals are starting to become the norm in the healthcare setting.

Why It Matters

In the mobile health space, technology needs to be meaningful because it can save a life, improve the quality of it, and support it; otherwise, there wouldn’t be a need to improve technology or even think about it at all.

mHealth solutions should aim to achieve any one or more of these objectives

  • Improve quality of care
  • Enrich an experience
  • Improve an existing process
  • Aid in workflow
  • Increase productivity
  • Save time
  • Save money

Types of mHealth Solutions

An mHealth solution can be for health professionals, students, or patients.

A solution for professionals should provide them with access to information, resources, and people at the right time and place.

For students, it should give them better access to real-time data, better learning tools, and many different ways of completing their courses.

For patients, it should enrich their experience by making them more knowledgeable about their illness and feel confident about the institution’s ability to take care of them.

The Challenges

Mobile health and healthcare IT applications face unique challenges as they enter the app stores. Whereas mobile game developers may focus on creating realistic graphics, or social messaging apps struggle with developing simple interfaces that scale across platforms, health apps need to deal with the large amounts of data they process while still remaining HIPAA compliant. A strong analytics component that makes health data accessible and easier to understand, therefore, may determine whether a mobile health app succeeds or fails.

High-level challenges:

  • Multiple complex applications from multiple vendors
  • No single user experience (multiple devices, operating systems, and software)
  • Requests to access patient data anytime and anywhere
  • Security and Patient Privacy

Words of Wisdom

In the mobile Health space there are many great opportunities and ideas to make a positive change. But remember an idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea. So never stop pushing an idea even if adoption takes longer than expected.

About VitalHub

VitalHub is the startup behind VitalHub Chart, a mobile app which allows medical professionals to create custom digital patient charts by aggregating patient data from existing electronic health records systems. VitalHub Chart is available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iPad Mini, as well as the Android Nexus 7 tablet. | @vitalhubcorp


Connect with Giancarlo on Twitter.

About the Author


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