With health apps, it’s all about you!

There are tens of thousands of health and wellness apps now available and they all claim to help you manage your health, or particular aspects of it, better than you could do without them.

Can they all be successful? Well, depending on how they work, their user interfaces, and the types of people using them, they can be. What they all generally suffer from though is context fragmentation.

By Clive Flashman, Health Industry Strategist, CSC

Think of a really successful online grocery store app. It recognizes what you regularly buy, spots patterns in your purchasing, suggests complementary purchases, and even links to online recipe databases to “auto-fill” your basket. It’s as if the app knows you, and you and the store have a history together. The app uses analytics in a really intelligent way to gain maximum insight about you. In other words, it understands your context.

By and large, health and wellness apps aren’t so good at knowing you and your context. Improvements are being made, and more of the apps can now link to EHRs. However, most tend to be narrowly focused on a particular condition or purpose, so can never see the whole picture.

Tolkien said that there should be “one ring to bind them all.” In the same way, while healthcare consumers will inevitably use multiple channels to communicate with various care providers, there needs to be some sort of foundational app which, through clever API management tied to intelligent analytics, can bring all that fragmented context together and make sense of it – for patients, clinicians, and everyone else who is entitled to it. This would deliver a double layer win; firstly from the apps that are used to achieve a specific purpose, and secondly in generating insight through cleverly combined data.

From this data, and a more holistic contextual understanding of the patient, we can drive better clinical decision making and more meaningful patient engagement.

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