What makes mHealth apps flavorgasmic?

October 23, 2015

When eating food so good that you let out an involuntary moan, usually the first bite; also as an adjective – flavorgasmic. November 30, 2008 Urban Word of the Day

I downloaded this unbelievable healthcare app yesterday for my iPhone that helps me monitor my father’s health remotely. I swear when I clicked the first page I had a total flavorgasm.

Still wondering why mobile monitoring apps are having a tough time mainstreaming?

Read on.

The 80-20 rule is alive and kicking when it comes to apps – 80 percent of the apps you downloaded, you don’t use more than a couple of times and pretty soon they just lay fallow on your phone until you get around to removing them.

This is validated by examining my own usage of apps I’ve installed on my Android devices. The $99/year subscription I purchased for Epocrates is not being used, because frankly the Epocrates UI sucks and it annoys me because they have so much hype and I so wanted Epocrates to be useful for me.

In our previous post on how to do successful remote monitoring of patients in your clinical trials – we noted that technologies that mainstream became a unobtrusive part  of our lives.

Some mobile apps are a part of my daily life routine and are used frequently. This is a totally non-surprising conclusion. In my case, the iRealbook is part of my daily practice schedule on tenor sax and clarinet and I look forward to trying new rhythms – even if it’s frustrating, you can always bail out of Fast Jazz 3 and try Jazz Waltz 1 with a single finger swipe and click.

Life is sweet. But – you still have to consistenly practice – being good on a musical instrument is like anything else, it requires consistentency. 15′ of long tones / day is better than 1.5 hours once/week.

So – we can see that the first 2 critical success factors for any app, especially a mobile healthcare app for monitoring your health or health of your family members, which includes remote monitoring for risks and activity – are

1. How well the healthcare app fits into your daily routine

2. How simple and easy it is to use.

Relevance and ease of use are necessary conditions for using mobile healthcare apps – but are they sufficient conditions? Will you have a flavorgasm after the first bite and then a week later totally forget that you downloaded the U.S. Preventive Medicine Macaw  app for health and fitness app designed to personally monitor your health by assessing your health risks and tracking your daily activity.

I downloaded the Macaw app when it first came out in 2012 and found the registration process surpringly easy and quick. After I fired up the app, I was confronted with a lot of screens and data. The first bite was great, but it was too much of a good thing. 3 years later I’m not even sure they’re still in business.

Moving on.

Capzule PHR for the iPad is a fabulous app for personal healthcare records management. It is beautiful and has lots of features – but from my personal perspective it has a big show-stopper: It is buzz-word compliant in the biggest way – it’s all about sharing and templates, Wifi, scanning documents to multi-page PDF files, QR codes and text forms,password protection, edit records, transfer files etc ad nauseum.

If Capzule PHR is so good for your health, then why do they spend so much time talking about the technology in order to sell it to you?  

If Macaw was relevant but non user-friendly, Capzule PHR was really user-sexy but non-relevant with it’s top-heavy technology focus and the amount of data it collects.

In our post 5 things that make hit healthcare apps – we talk about adding value to patients, doctors and caregivers and fill out the picture with the 5 most important things that a mobile app must have in order to be really sticky and not just flavorgasmic.

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