Why 74% of smartphone apps are dropped by the 10th use

“If you build it, they will come.”  That seems to be the mantra of the tech startups that are churning out health tracking apps for our phones. But aside from the worried well of the Quantified Self movement, will Real Live Patients actually use these apps to improve health outcomes? That’s what Consumer Health Information Corporation (CHIC) wanted to find out when they surveyed about 400 smartphone owners to evaluate the likelihood of patient adherence.*

What we know so far is that we tend to exhibit a bit of a kid-in-a-candy-store initial infatuation with new and sparkly things.  Continue reading

An open letter to mobile health app developers and their funders

UPDATE:  This guest post by the late Dr. Jessie Gruman was originally published on the Center for Advancing Health’s Prepared Patient blog in February, 2013. CFAH was founded by Jessie, the author of AfterShock, a book that helps patients navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis.

As a patient, writer and respected advocate, she sent this open letter to the tech hypemeisters of Silicon Valley.

I hope they’re paying attention.

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Texting at funerals

Dr. Sherry Turkle is worried.  The MIT prof (and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other) told an interviewer from The Verge recently that one of her main concerns is how to get families to talk to each other at the dinner table – instead of texting. What also concerns her is that young people may think of communication as being a Like button.

“People are texting at funerals! (Only during the boring bits, they protest).  But things worth doing (like grassroots political campaigning) often require boring bits. For good stuff to happen, people need to talk to each other.”  Continue reading

Smartphones make Top 10 Health Tech Hazards List

Congratulations, smartphones! You finally made the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list this year. The list is an annual compilation of the top hazards caused by technology used in health care, based on the prevalence and severity of incidents reported to the ECRI Institute, a non-profit patient safety organization.  The most common hazards on the list include dangers like radiation burns during diagnostic radiology procedures, or surgical fires, or patient monitoring alarms that fail to go off.

But for the first time ever, “caregiver distraction from smartphones and other mobile devices” has made this Top 10 list of patient safety hazards.  I’d offer up a high five here, but your hands might be otherwise occupied until you distracted health care providers learn how to put down the damned phone while you’re supposed to be caring for your patients. Continue reading

Guess which smartphone your doctor carries?

Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android?  Which sells more? Well, if you were to look at overall market share, the answer is Android (in smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy, LG, Motorola, etc.)

In fact, a recent Nielson’s survey reported that Android reached 51.8% market share in the U.S. compared to Apple’s 34.3%.  Android has enjoyed a sharp rise in popularity since its debut just four short years ago.

But according to Emergency Medicine physician Dr. Iltifat Husain, founder and editor-in-chief of iMedicalApps, Android has not seemed able to gain the same popularity in at least one target market, and that market is health care professionals. Apple’s dominance in medicine is well documented, in fact.  A 2011 study found that over 75% of physicians own an Apple mobile device. Continue reading