Mhealth is short for mobile health and captures the recent trend in technology adaptation in healthcare. With mHealth apps popping up, we have a need for someone or a group which can review and vet such products.
This is one of those post where I try to highlight potential opportunities for medical professionals who are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial venture.
Independent, private organizations just as Joint Commission have gained a strong foothold in medicine. I don’t think they are helping healthcare improve but they are a necessary evil. JCO started out as a private organization and has become the standard for certifying various healthcare related facilities.
mHealth app review
A mHealth app reviewer would curate a website with all the current mHealth apps on the market. They would develop a vetted and standardized method of evaluating these products and offer a solid review to the consumers.
mHealth apps are pretty much any kind of mobile app used to track, modify, manage, or diagnose health related issues. There is a whole ton of them out there, just scroll through the health section on any app store.
The point wouldn’t be to give a product a 3-star or 5-star review. Instead, it would be beneficial to clearly define what the mHealth app offers in terms of service, how it can benefit the consumer, the relevant research studies, the limitations, and potential applications.
The FDA is already vetting healthcare software. It won’t be long until a 3rd party vendor will take that over and become the main go-to private entity.
Growing a brand
You will have to figure out for yourself whether you want to be consumer facing or business facing. The website could either be directed at the mHealth app creators or it could target the end consumer. Whether you go the B2B or B2C route, the goal is to offer your unbiased clinical opinion and increase awareness.
If you target the mHealth app creators, you would want to create a process through which the developers can test their app and possibly obtain a rating through your platform.
If you target the consumer, you would want to create awareness that certain apps exist. Next you would want to educate the public as to how best to use a certain app and how to integrate it into their own health management.
Whether you cater to the business or consumer, you can grow your website by offering an incentive for each party to list their product on your website. The consumer would benefit from an unbiased opinion, while the app creator would benefit from the exposure.
Avoid advertising – a lot of websites have diluted their brand by taking on advertisers. You can’t be truly unbiased if you have advertisers on your site.
Modeling your website
Many of us are familiar with organizations such as Leapfrog or Consumer Affairs. Even though these are private groups, they have become the gold-standard for reviewing and overseeing their target customers.
While Consumer Affairs focuses on the consumer side, Leapfrog targets the businesses. Leapfrog provides a grade to hospitals and does this through independent inspections as well as surveys.
It’s important that you convey the right message, meaning, you have to take a stance and take a side. Next, you have to become credible and be the go-to person.
Credibility in the online space, unfortunately, comes from a ubiquitous presence. The more you get your name out there, the more views you have, the more websites know about you, the more credible your are. Not very scientific, but it’s the accepted standard.
The best way to build your online presence is to connect with as many other websites and services as possible. Reach out and let them know what your intentions are and see how you can help these other companies.
For example, you can reach out to mHealth Intelligence which is more of a news outlet for all mHealth related products and services. I really like their site and could see them partnering well with a 3rd party independent reviewer.
Another interesting company is Startup Health which is very technology based and focuses on the news and offers symposiums for healthcare startup companies. This is a great place to find out about new mHealth app companies.
Finally, there are law groups which focus on mHealth technology. An example would be CTel. They are big in the telehealth space which has recently become the cornerstone of mHealth apps.