We had a great Health Activist Tweetchat today on the subject of health technology. We wanted to know what patients are using now when it comes to health apps, games, and devices – and who better to ask than the savvy Health Activists that lead them?
Here are our top take-aways:
1. Health Activists are REALLY interested in apps related to their conditions and activism but aren’t convinced the right ones exist just yet.
@TiffanyandLupus “T1: I’m still looking for a #lupus specific mobile app; none yet 🙁 #hachat
@KatharineS84 @wegohealth Unfortunately, I’m unaware of any apps specifically for #cysticfibrosis – can’t think of what there would be. #HAchat
Everyone was excited to share their favorite apps (read below for a full list) and how they are able to manage/track/and keep in touch with their health mobile-y through their smart phones, tablets, or laptops. Most apps seem to focus on diet and exercise – and more condition-specific apps could really be a game-changer for the health app industry.
2. Health Activists are open to apps sponsored by pharmaceutical companies as long as they’re actually helpful for the community – and even more, they’re interested in helping build them right!
@KatharineS84 “YES. Me too. RT @susanmees: KatharineS84 Itd be gr8 if you could test it before they launched. Id LOVE to test apps. #HAchat”
Utility and usability are key. If you build it, they will come – but if it’s not great – they won’t stay. If healthcare companies got into the app creation world – would they be sure to get the integral patient input to make their app the best it can be? I would put a Health Activist app tester up against any techy insider – these patients know what their communities want and will tell you honestly how to improve. How can we work together to make this happen?
3. Health Activists aren’t completely sold on the gameification of health and are focused on making sure the community is the on getting the rewards (rather than the individual).
@TiffanyandLupus “Nope! RT @wegohealth: Ok! Topic 2: There is a lot of discussion about health games and “gameification” – do you play health games? #hachat”
@kdhoffman2 “gamification seems 2 mean many things.is it applying game mechanics to worksite health events (for example) or creating v.g.s 4 hlth #HAchat”
@NateOsit “@wegohealth Mixed feelings re: gamification. I think there needs to be more community incentives for health, not individual rewards #HAchat”
@NateOsit “T3 Skeptical about new expensive devices. Doesn’t address the very basic issues that have biggest health impacts #HAchat”
Companies are working to add play into our lives through techy games and “reward systems” to make our app, game, and device use more social and more interactive overall. But will this really make things easier for patients? Only time will tell. Until we truly have a clear definition of where gamification of Health Care is going – Health Activists (and we) will remain skeptical. Is the goal truly: patient first? What are the real benefits?
Health technology isn’t everywhere yet – but it’s getting there. Patients and healthcare professionals alike want to streamline care and make every minute (and treatment) count. If we can get there through technology safely (and affordably) – this could be huge for everyone involved in the world of healthcare.
Here are the apps recommended by Health Activists during our chat:
- Couch to 5k
- Glucose Buddy
- I Manage Migraines
- Speed Anatomy