Mobile health needs to eat its own dog food

By Brian Dolan
01:04 am

Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIf you travel as much as I do you've no doubt seen air traffic controllers setting up the wheel chocks in front of and behind airplanes' wheels. While I'm sure those little chocks are a last line of defense for an errant airplane, it always seems to me their removal would result in a rolling 747.

Here's a relatively simple idea that would get the massive mobile health opportunity rolling.

This week I had the pleasure of discussing the mobile health opportunity with Spencer Hutchins, one of the co-authors of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, which included a whole chapter on mobile health. Hutchins worked with the FCC on the Plan while on sabbatical from Booz & Company in New York.

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While the conversation with Hutchins spanned a number of topics across mobile health, Hutchins said that one way the telecom industry can convince CMS and other payers that these mobile health services can lower costs and improve care is to roll them out within their own workforces. If an AT&T, Verizon or other large telecom put that kind of confidence in mobile health it would move the needle, according to Hutchins. Until a large telecom like that tells insurers they plan to bid out their insurance contract to the payer willing to work with them on deploying mobile health solutions, mobile health is in danger of just being a "great press release."

"Obviously the silo between the new business development group and the company's own benefits managers in human resources is a huge gulf," Hutchins noted. "Making that connection won't be easy, but it's a different and better approach than sending a lobbyist to Washington D.C."

Is this likely to happen next month? I doubt it, but as Hutchins noted there is a real "first mover" opportunity for a large enterprise here. An opportunity to put their own money on the line and truly enter that messy world of healthcare.

Using your own products internally is not a new idea. In fact, it's often called "eating your own dog food."

The mobile health industry better develop a taste for it soon.


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