During a wireless health-focused session at the Connected Health Symposium in Boston this week, the panelists from Verizon, WellDoc, GenerationOne and Sensei had some memorable quotes and bits of wisdom that often stood out as best practices or interesting comments. Below is a rundown of some of the more helpful aphorisms from the event:
Carriers eye connected health at home and on-the-go
“We believe that the home is where healthcare is going to be taken care of most of the time, which we can service through our FiOS television and Internet offerings, hub devices, and so on. The cell phone will become the place for primary care on the go, while the television will be the hub at home. With these fiber and wireless networks, we have the technology, security and bandwidth and are able to push as many applications as we want, but we need to be careful to remember to focus on solutions that are going to impact the patient and change his lifestyle.” – Rajeev Kappor, VP and Managing Director, Verizon
Wireless health goes to Hollywood?
“How do we really engage people and encourage them to participate? That’s the Holy Grail for wireless health. It needs to be more enjoyable and attractive on a day to day basis then it has been up until now. Just look at Apple’s iPhone AppStore, there are pages and pages of applications available on the App Store, but consistently the games are the most popular applications. We need to find more enjoyable ways to get people engaged. Maybe we need to hire Hollywood — seriously, maybe we do.” – Robert Schwarzberg, CEO, Sensei
Who pays? Is it all about the payer?
“At this time [most companies] are developing vertically integrated solutions, or ones that span the whole ecosystem of the healthcare industry. In order to succeed, those companies need to realize that their only logical customer is the payer — whether it is a private insurer or a self-insured employer or what. So, if you can demonstrate clinically that there is an economic value proposition to your offering, then you can demonstrate that to the payer and they will create some neat incentive programs around it. After demonstrating those savings, one business model is to then charge the payer a portion of those savings. That’s what we do at WellDoc.” – Anand Iyer, President and COO, WellDoc
“I can tell you that we talk to payers all the time. Payers are very, very interested in financing this whole thing with us. Our theory, though, is that we need to keep it simple. If the purpose of one telehealth solution is just to make sure that grandma is OK, maybe a push-to-talk service that makes it easy for grandma to check-in or be checked-in on is all that’s needed. When you think about telehealth, think about what you really need at that point of time and always take a step back and determine what information is really needed. Is it just the patient’s weight and the time the last pill was taken? That kind of thinking will help you determine your business models.” – Rajeev Kappor, VP and Managing Director, Verizon
“It’s not all about the payers, though. If it was your grandma, why wouldn’t you be willing to pay for a little push-to-talk just to make sure she was still alive? Doctors can do telehealth without any of those apps. Why does this only have to be about payers?” – Rajeev Kappor, VP and Managing Director, Verizon
Clinical trials not so useful?
“Clinical trials are very useful for proof of concept or proving functionality, but the more important step is the one that comes after them. You could have phenomenal clinical results but your product could still fail during the actual implementation and execution.” – Jorge Perdomo, VP of Business Development, GenerationOne
Can health apps prove they do no harm?
“In the next six to nine months there is going to be a little bit of a ‘Come to Jesus’ between the FDA and all these apps people. The FDA’s mantra is, of course, “Do no harm.” The FDA will want these wireless health app developers to demonstrate that their apps, in fact, do no harm.” – Anand Iyer, President and COO, WellDoc
The oft-asked carrier liability question…
“I am often aksed — what happens if the carrier’s network drops during [an important wireless data transmission of patient's vital signs.] First of all, don’t do [that kind of transmission]. The question is always: Is there liability if the carrier’s coverage drops off? I think people are over-sensitizing this.” – Rajeev Kappor, VP and Managing Director, Verizon
The times (and texts messagers), they are a-changing
“A study that is about to come out found that that people over the age of 55 are actually the second largest text messaging group today. Conventional wisdom about how different types of people use their cell phones is going to be challenged.” – Anand Iyer, President and COO, WellDoc