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What is the next big thing in healthcare, and what can you do about it?

Some might disagree on this, but I have no doubt. If you need a proof, take a good look around. What is the single most common object that you see around that everybody holds, everybody owns.

The next big thing in healthcare is mobile health. There is no need for me tell you about how it changed our life since you already know. There is a fair change that you are reading this as you hold your phone in your hand.

Ok, but what can you do about it. There are hundreds if not thousands of firms who are building apps, writing programs and creating mobile sites about this. With the exception of few, they are quite unsuccessful. Do you know any app that changed your revolutionized your health so far?

Healthcare is a unique consumption good, and many mobile health tools fail to recognize that. Here is my humble opinion about how to be successful in mobile health.

1. Understand the 3 P’s of Healthcare: Patient, Provider, Payer (Insurance)

You have to understand that these P’s are distinctly different from each other, but co-exist. It is meaningless to build a system without taking other into calculation.

For example, one of the most common genre of health apps is the weight loss. Isn’t it weird that despite the number of successful diets, Dukan, Atkins etc, we don’t see a good app on dieting? The apps that are currently on the market focus mostly on the patient. However, patients demand to be in touch with a provider, traditionally this is the physician. You want to trust the information you found online, and authority figure makes the information search quite convenient. The apps in the market neglect this relationship largely.

How about those lousy appointment apps that hospitals have. They make the same mistake too. How do you pay for your healthcare, with insurance of course? An appointment app that does not collect insurance information has no future in the market.

2. Learn what not-for-profit means

Healthcare, especially in US market, is not-for-profit largely. If you are an app builder, this actually does not change much in your revenue model. Not-for-profits still need to make profits to survive, and you will soon realize that many of them are much more aggressive than for-profit hospitals.

Still, you have to understand this concept. Not-for-profit usually means teaching hospitals, community service, and social responsibility. If you understand these, you will be talking the language of providers and they will be more than happy to work with you.

3. Think out of the box

Here is my million-dollar idea. Why don’t you build a small attachable device for iPhone, which enables the patient to make a small draw each day to monitor sugar levels. Diabetes is the fastest growing in epidemic in US, and the opportunities in this field are quite promising.


Image source: flickr

Murat Uralkan

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