September 21, 2016

The Doctor App Question: Who will Validate, Vet or Veto?

Marcia Noyes
Marcia Noyes

Datica Alumni — Former Director of Communications

FierceHealthcare reporter Susan D. Hall outlined some important challenges for digital health in a recent article titled, “Amid opportunities, digital health poses challenges for cardiology.” The article covers three challenges. One, the need for the onslaught of healthcare data to be better aggregated in context for doctors and patients alike. Two, the challenge of proving mobile health applications’ efficacy as a stand-alone therapeutic.

However, her third point about a need for gathering strong evidence around mobile health applications is the one Datica is hearing about most. Two physicians we recently interviewed expressed similar concerns. In a recent Healthcare Innovators Podcast, Datica CEO Travis Good, MD interviewed Dr. Mark Shapiro, a hospitalist from San Diego, as well as the host of Explore the Space podcast. Dr. Shapiro shared his thoughts about the dilemma physicians face when called upon to recommend applications without thorough industry validation of those devices.

Shapiro also used Theranos, the blood-testing startup example, to illustrate why he isn’t a first adopter of technology. “As [applications] become more fully vetted, and we do get some clinical data to support their utility, as well as their safety and efficacy, I’m on board; I’m in. I’m not the guy that is going to stand on the lawn saying I don’t want technology coming my way, but we need to be prudent.” He explained that as a physician, those recommendations take on a whole new level of meaning when used to make big decisions about a life. “When [using] very powerful diagnostic information from something, we need to be sure of where it is coming from and its quality before we implement it on a large scale.”

Primary care physician, informatics researcher and entrepreneur Ida Sim, MD, PhD expressed a correlating sentiment in her recent interview for the Healthcare Innovators Podcast. “Obviously as a system, we need to think about which are the right apps, which are the best sensors, how accurate they are and how validated; that’s something we need to do as an industry.”

Dr. Sim’s podcast interview will be published next week and offers a first-hand look at what physicians are thinking through as they face the real possibility of incorporating a new source of information — patient-generated data. Grab your headphones, pen and paper for notes, because her insights on where this data should or could be stored are ones that all digital health vendors, EHR companies and healthcare providers should listen to and record.

If you aren’t following the wealth of thought leadership pouring out of the_ Healthcare Innovators Podcast_, subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or GooglePlay.