Healthcare providers, if I'm wrong, you can taunt me with this in 2013, but I'm going to predict that in a year's time, without government intervention, patients are going to jackhammer their way into your electronic health-record systems with data from their Apple or Android phones and tablets.
Power to the patients
Earlier this week, I listened in on a meeting of the meaningful use workgroup of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee. Its members were deliberating recent recommendations for Stage 3 meaningful use criteria, which probably won't be used in the federally funded EHR incentive payment program until 2016, or thereabouts.
One of the proposed Stage 3 criteria that falls under the category of patient engagement contemplates a day when your EHRs will be configured to receive patient-supplied data, such as family histories, blood glucose levels, blood pressure and weight.
But by 2016, that rule will have come too late to be of any meaningful use to you or have any inducing effect by the government. That's because, by 2016, everyone will have long since been doing it— except those that could not, would not or will have waited too long, and they will have long since gone out of business.
We're already well past the tipping point of smart phone and iPad/Android pad adoption. As of February this year, 88% of all American adults had a cell phone, and 46% had a smart phone, according to surveyors from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Also, according to Pew's earlier research, the share of adult cell phone owners who had downloaded an app to their smart phone almost doubled from 22% in September 2009 to 38% in August 2011. That meant, not only were more people buying significantly more smart phones during that period, but also, increasingly, they were learning how to use the devices' advanced features.
And of them, 29% had downloaded an app to manage and track a person's health.
For the sake of this prediction, I'm assuming that by now, smart phone adoption has risen to 50%, downloading is up to 50% and the downloading of healthcare apps remains unchanged at 29%.
So, today, there are 314.1 million http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html people in the U.S. Half of them (adults and children), or 157.1 million, are under the influence of an adult who owns a smart phone.
Half of those—78.5 million—are under the influence of an adult with a downloaded app. And of those, 29%—or 22.8 million—are under the influence of a healthcare app.
As a healthcare provider you might ask, 'Really now, how many of those 22.8 million current or potential new customers are dying to share their data with me?”
The better question is, 'How many of them am I willing to risk losing?”
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