Does wireless health need a medical app store?

By Brian Dolan
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A recent Brookings Institute report that we pointed to last week has drummed up a lot of response from the political commentary crowd: Joe Rothstein, editor of EIN News, penned an editorial in U.S. Politics Today this week that picked up where Brookings Institute's Darrell West left off:

"Physicians and patients are going to have to learn how to migrate into the new medical world. That may not be as difficult as it seems with a generation or so now having grown up with Nintendo and Game Boy as their constant companions," Rothstein wrote. "And who now doesn't have a cell phone, or a smart phone, or an ipod? In the near time horizon it's likely we will all be customers at the medical app store, customizing our own devices."

Rothstein's prediction of a "medical app store" in the "near time horizon" is perhaps wishful thinking, but key to moving wireless health forward. Former Google Health head Adam Bosworth seems to be building his latest start-up Keas around just such an offering. (More on that later this week as Bosworth and team are presenting at Partners' Connected Health Symposium here in Boston.)

Rothstein, like West before him, lists out the challenges ahead for wireless health and the digital transformation of healthcare in general:

"More difficult will be such matters as 1) encouraging public and private health insurers to cover most mhealth communications and wellness programs (they don't, now), (2) rewarding providers for work performed within the new system, not just for personal visits or tests ordered, (3) changing licensing of health providers to permit the practice of medicine across state lines (by telemedicine) (4) achieving compatibility among devices made by various manufacturers, and (5) integrating preventive care into the entire system as a full-fledged, and insurance reimbursable, partner."

Do you agree with Rothstein that, if "steered correctly, technology is going to cure a lot of our health care, and health cost ills?" Read the rest of his commentary over at U.S. Politics Today.