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First posted on Health Populi on 02/19/2013

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Host of Health Populi

eclinicalworks infographicA vast majority – 9 in 10 physicians – like mobile health (mHealth) apps, especially when tied to electronic health records (EHRs). eClinicalWorks surveyed physicians in January 2013, and found physicians bullish on mobile health apps for patient benefit – not just for their own office productivity and workflow.

Specifically,

  • - 93% of physicians say mobile health apps can improve patients’ health outcomes
  • - 89% of physicians would recommend an mHealth app to a patient
  • - 58% of doctors note a key mHealth benefit is providing patients with appointment alerts and reminders
  • - 2 in 3 physicians say mHealth apps linked to an EHR could bolster medication adherence
  • - 1 in 2 believes mHealth apps could benefit patients with diabetes and improve preventive care.


As part of the press on the survey, eClinicalWorks announced that it would bolster patient engagement through the Health & Online Wellness (healow) brand which will provide a free mobile app for patients (via iOS and Android platforms). The app will connect patients to their EHRs and enable provider-patient communication. The app will also enable patients to request prescription drug refills and view lab results — the latter of which is a most-requested functionality that patients highly value.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  eClinicalWorks is placing a large $25 million bet, based on their scale, on patient engagement. This move signals the company’s belief that physicians will engage with patients and reach across the communication chasm toward two-way communication in a relationship 2.0 world. Health providers, not consumers, are their first line of customers — so this is significant.

But in establishing healow, eClinicalWorks explicitly brings consumers-patients into their EHR ecosystem — which for some big EHR suppliers isn’t so transparent. Based on consumers’ uptake of mHealth apps, I can see eClinicalWorks patients fast-downloading the app once available. It is up to eClinicalWorks to ensure that the app’s usability is consumer-focused and engaging. If it is, healow will be transformational and become a model that many EHR vendors will (try to) fast-follow.