Jitterbug weighs in on mHealth opportunity

By Brian Dolan
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The co-founder and chairman of Jitterbug, the senior-focused mobile phone service, Arlene Harris weighed in on mHealth during a question and answer period here at TEPR. Harris summed up the mHealth opportunity rather succinctly:

"There is a perfect storm coming here," Harris said. "The confluence of technologies like broadband in the home, internet-enabled wireless devices in the home, internet-enabled devices that ensure connectivity at point-of-person, sensor technology (that sooner than later) will be checking your blood glucose in real-time: All of those things are in laboratories now. These technologies are finding their way so that all of this information in electronic [health] records has a place to go and get acted upon... Pharma has known for a long time that compliance [or adherence] is a great, big revenue booster: Why haven't they invested in that? Frankly, I think it's complicated."

"You need to bring a solution that is fully baked," Harris said. "When you walk into CVS or Walgreens you need to make sure your solution is baked so that representative can walk back [to their headquarters] and be a hero when it works. [That said,] I am very dubious that [incentivizing consumers to] just buy these handsets with pre-loaded [mHealth] apps on them is going to be the driver."

Jitterbug's other founder, Marty Cooper invented the first cellular phone while working at Motorola. Cooper placed the first cellular call on April 3, 1973.