Viewpoint: Clinical health apps can't — and shouldn't — be one-size-fits-all

Rather than creating a single app to facilitate every possible healthcare interaction, providers should instead foster an "ecosystem" with their standard clinical app serving as a hub connecting patients to more specialized apps, according to a TechCrunch op-ed.

In the article, Chris Hogg, chief commercial officer of Madison, Wis.-based Propeller Health, discusses the pitfalls of the idea of "one app to rule them all." That concept both ignores the way people typically use technology and prioritizes usage over the patient experience. "Forcing patients to use one app for every healthcare interaction disregards the complexity and specificity of individual diseases and patient profiles," he writes.

Instead, providers, payers, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and digital health startups should collaborate on a "best-of-breed ecosystem model" comprising a wide selection of apps that each address a specific healthcare need and connect to each other through identity and data linking.

In Mr. Hogg's ideal solution, then, "Patients use a core clinical app, likely provided by their health system or primary care provider, that takes care of clinical interactions like scheduling, clinical data, reminders and follow-ups." That app will then "link out to and connect to the problem-specific solutions" addressing issues such as respiratory disease, diabetes, mental health, increasing activity or improving sleep.

"We'll end up with a diverse ecosystem of solutions, each the best in their vertical, delivering a tailored user experience based on the needs of the specific patient and provider type," he concluded. "And patients will be better off for it."

More articles on consumerism:
Google Cloud, NTT Data developing solutions to improve patient experience, cut healthcare costs
6 things millennials want from their healthcare: apps, cost transparency & more
Consumerism isn’t just a buzzword: Why Medical City Healthcare’s CIO is dedicated to empowering patients

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