Motivating behavior change has long been one of the biggest challenges and opportunities in mobile health. One avenue for addressing that challenge is to take lessons from a field that doesn’t suffer from any engagement problems: gaming.
For the first year, the mHealth Summit 2012 featured a Games for Health pavilion, focused on companies using games and the lessons learned from gaming to innovate mobile health. Games at the conference seem to fit into two broad categories: simulations that increase readiness and preparedness for medical events and gamified tracking and motivating apps.
A lot of the energy in gamification is focused on using game mechanics to motivate people to healthy behaviors, such as staying active. Ben Sawyer, co-founder of Games for Health, said this is a natural space for mobile gaming.
“There are some really uniquely mobile ideas,” he said. “The [kind] of exercise that hits the largest part of the population is walking, so we see a lot of games built around that. This is something that really speaks to the ‘health games for everyone’ notion.”
'Oracle recently released a report noting, among other things, that healthcare isn’t prepared to manage Big Data. That’s hardly shocking, since healthcare seems largely inept at managing any data, much less Big Data, which is generally defined as having one or more of these characteristics:
* Variety, meaning structured, semi-structured and unstructured data * Velocity, meaning you want it moved at high speeds * Volume, think petabytes and terabytes
Maybe health care IT doesn’t have a data problem so much as it has a Big Data problem.
What do I mean? Well, most health care records actually fall into the domain of Big Data more than your typical, relational database kind of data. Specifically:
* Most health care records are actually unstructured data, e.g., text documents or images. Doctor’s notes on patients, nurse’s care plans, lab results, x-rays and MRI results all fall well outside the domain of structured data. I
* Health care data is often high volume, particularly when you’re talking about a state or national electronic health records system. What’s more, when you deal with images, like x-rays or other scans, you’re increasing the data’s volume in terms of storage requirements.
* Finally, most health care records need to be moved relatively quickly, and as individual records. So, if I’m having a consult tomorrow with a surgeon, then the x-rays need to be at the office by morning.
It looks like there’s a clear use case for Big Data technologies in health care.
In fact, if I may be so bold, maybe health care’s data problems are not entirely caused by niche vendors, data silos and a lack of investment.
Maybe the reason health care IT is such a mess is because the existing tools couldn’t handle Big Data needs in an affordable way.
Mobile health devices and apps—This is now an area of enormous growth, with more than 40,000 mobile apps related to health and wellness. The FDA recently released draft guidelines for apps that make medical claims.
Evernote and iHealth PartnerHealthTechZoneiHealth has already been recognized as a company that has taken healthcare to the mobile platform. They have offered up applications for the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the iPad.
MHealth Summit Focuses on Mobile Tech for Healthcare; Kaiser Permanente Saves $8M by Recycling Medical Devices; ING Supports Running for Health - Health Minute for December 10, 2012. 3BL Media, LLC. Newsroom.
Editor’s note: Dr. Michael Wu is the Principal Scientist of Analytics at Lithium where he is currently applying data-driven methodologies to investigate and understand the complex dynamics of the social Web.
The United States will look to Africa to gain knowledge about advances in mobile health technologies because Tanzania, among other countries, already has maternal child health and community health worker programs that rely on smart phones.
While it’s still the early days of mHealth and the digital revolution, “we will see huge breakthroughs in Africa and South Asia,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, speaking at a Monday afternoon mHealth Summit 'Super Session' on global implications for mHealth technologies.
“Those breakthroughs will eventually become breakthroughs in the U.S. when it addresses the high costs of its healthcare system and frees up $750 billion a year in waste,” Sachs said.
Mobile phones have been used to deliver messages about maternal and child health to mothers who live in areas that are remote or lack communications and other services. Mobile technology can make a difference, getting critical [pregnancy] stage-based information to expectant moms
Cegedim’s annual industry survey, 2012 US Pharma Insights, reveals that while more pharma companies are using social media and mobile platforms to enhance their sales and marketing initiatives, budgets did not reflect an increase in social media spend. Internal alignments are also shifting, with more people citing executive management as the main sponsors of investment in new technology platforms rather than traditional IT departments.
Pharma employees have more readily embraced key social media venues in the past year, with 96% of participants present on LinkedIn, 70% on Facebook, and 37% on Twitter, compared to 54%, 32%, and 9% in 2011, respectively. Together, they account for an average 36% increase in use of these platforms. While social media use among survey respondents have shot up, budgets fail to reflect an enthusiasm for such exploits: 29% of companies spent less than 5% of their budgets on social media in 2011 and 50% have spent only that much in 2012; spend in the 5-10% range increased by a mere one percent and declined in the 10% and beyond range by an average of 4.5%. Overall, it means that while more companies are participating in the medium, as companies engage they tend to spend the same or less.
Another interesting find in this survey is that companies have undergone a marked shift in priorities. Compared with 29% the previous year, 55% of participants cite strategy/business planning/business development as the primary driver of business model and process change. Marketing/brand teams, commercial operations and regulatory/compliance all saw declines in the neighborhood of 11% in terms of leading the pace of change. This aligns with executive management being seen as the primary driver of technology changes, growing from 28% to 46% in 2011, in contrast to IT’s decline in influence, sliding from 28% to 18%. What is clear here is that the imperative for a more robust technological infrastructure comes from those with the primary role in allocating capital investment and assessing budget spend.
Merck & Co has become the latest pharma company to bring gamification to its clinical research by tapping into online scientific research community Kaggle.
Merck launched the Merck Molecular Activity Challenge, with its $40,000 prize fund, in August to assist its drug development work by predicting molecular activity.
The competition was won by a team of three US academics, who beat 15 other teams to identify the best statistical technique for predicting biological activity of different molecules.
It was based on 15 molecular activity data sets, each for a biologically relevant target and each row corresponded to a molecule and contains descriptors derived from that molecule's chemical structure.
With so many connected devices, a working wireless network is an absolute necessity for medical facilities.So network managers at hospitals shouldn’t rely on the people who use connected devices and computers to tell them when there are connectivity...