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AT&T: Mobile health's problem is “disconnected apps"

Richard Handford


LIVE FROM mHEALTH SUMMIT, WASHINGTON DC: Consumers are not using healthcare apps because they are “disconnected”, according to Christopher Hill, senior vice president with AT&T.

Hill pointed to research showing only 11 percent of users download health apps, and even fewer actually use them afterwards.

“It’s not a lack of supply or demand. Users want to connect with their providers. The issue is disconnected apps,” said Hill.

He suggested that apps which link patient, healthcare provider, insurer and pharmacy enjoy greater popularity.

Hill’s comments reflected a popular theme at mHealth Summit which is that health data becomes more valuable when it is aggregated and shared.

AT&T has been conducting a trial of its Diabetes Manager service which, Hill said, had delivered positive results. He pointed out a 55 percent reduction in hospitalisation of patients using the app in only a short length of time, although he did not reveal how many patients took part in the trial. Some of the participants were from among its own employees.

The diabetes trial was also positively received by the participants of whom a high proportion (93 percent) said they would recommend the service to other patients.

Separately, the operator is also putting developers together with hospitals, in another example of “interconnectedness.”

“We may not be as far forward as we want to be in mhealth but we are moving forward,” said Hill.

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