The interoperability of consumer mHealth – reflecting on Jawbone + Massive Health + Visere

JawboneConsumers want multiple functions on single devices, smooth transitions from one screen to another, and value-laden experiences in the post-recession economy. I wrote about this phenomenon during the week of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, highlighting Accenture’s survey on consumer attitudes toward technology — the connected home as consumer medical home.

In the fast-evolving mobile health (mHealth) era, the consumer-facing suppliers are fast-responding to these customer demands. This is fostering consumer-centered interoperability in mHealth. On the health care system and professional side of health IT, getting to interoperability remains elusive and slow-going, with a customer base (hospitals, physicians) that’s not as demanding as health consumers. Doctors and hospitals have put up with fragmented, closed, klugy health IT for decades. Consumers don’t (won’t) muddle about that way.

The announcement in GigaOm Pro (of which I am a paying subscriber) that Jawbone acquired the mHealth gem Massive Health and the design house Visere is a signpost on the consumer mHealth interoperability road. It is early days since we began to quantify ourselves by tucking a digital activity monitor into our pocket, stepping on a Wi-Fi enabled scale, and recording calories in on our smartphone food management app. But we’re anxious and antsy to streamline these activities and get more value from them. That value will be based on better design that’s informed by our demands and wishes, more real-time feedback about and support for making better health choices throughout the day, and engaging, even enchanting, products. David Rose, one of the developers of Vitality GlowCaps, was mindful of the enchantment of objects when he conceived of this medication adherence tool — one of the first consumer-centered designs for consumer home health use.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Bringing in-house Massive Health and Visere could give Jawbone the opportunity to integrate and fast-forward enchanting designs that engage consumers in health. While analyst reports talk a lot about “partnering” in health care these days,  there’s nothing quite like corralling intellectual capital under your own tent. Consumers looking to streamline managing their health through good daily micro-decisions wish you luck, Jawbone.

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