Mobile health technology needs better usability, infrastructure

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Discussions about the potential impact of mobile health technology often center on patients’ general reluctance to share personal health information (PHI), whether it’s with physicians or applications such as personal health record (PHR) services.


John de Souza, CEO of the online health community MedHelp, disagrees.


In 2008, MedHelp saw “tens of thousands” of posts from women who got rashes and welts after wearing certain Victoria’s Secret bras, de Souza said during a panel discussion at last month’s Institute for Health Technology Transformation’s iHT2 Health IT Summit. That all-too-personal data was powerful, too, as it helped Victoria’s Secret trace the problem to a formaldehyde spill at a single factory in China.


Usability, not privacy, hindering mobile health technology adoption


The incident demonstrated that users are more than willing to share PHI if they think doing so, even in a roundabout way, may make them healthier, de Souza said. This is becoming increasingly true as telehealth and mobile health technology becomes more omnipresent.

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