Trick or Treat? Scary Stories for mHealth Innovators


mHealth TerminatorThe Halloween season is upon us. What better time for some scary stories? A recent piece in mHealth News titled “mHealth VS. Big Brother” by Eric Wicklund caught my attention and prompted a flashback to my high school days in the mid-eighties.

Wicklund’s reference to the classic George Orwell novel 1984 was not lost on me. It’s a dystopian tale of a future dominated by the government’s omnipresent electronic “Big Brother”, who intrusively monitors people’s every move. I vividly recall reading the novel in Sophomore English, which coincidentally, I took in 1984.

Also in 1984, a little known director named James Cameron released a science fiction film that would become a blockbuster. The movie was The Terminator, and is perhaps best known for turning a former body builder from the Netherlands into a household name. The Terminator is a futuristic story of the struggle for the survival of humanity in a post-apocalyptic world. In it, technology has become self-aware and turned against its creator, attempting to eradicate all trace of humans from existence.

This (admittedly dark) stream of consciousness brought to mind another story that I must have read around the same time. It’s called “Quitters Inc.”, and is part of a collection titled Night Shift by Stephen King. It describes a secretive agency that helps people to quit smoking, lose weight, or exercise. But it’s like Jenny Craig from Hell – motivating adherence with threats, intimidation and torture.

(The fact that all this stuff has lain dormant in my subconscious since the mid-eighties is a topic for a future post on the need for psychoanalysis in middle-aged men. But I digress…)

As it relates to health technology, and  mobile health in particular, Wicklund, Orwell, Cameron and King all tell cautionary tales for mHealth innovators. Healthcare is first about CARE. Providing and receiving care is intimate and personal, among the most human of experiences. No technology, regardless of its sophistication, can replace the human factor in that equation.

Ideomed recognizes this reality and has kept it front and center in the development and ongoing evolution of our Abriiz platform. Abriiz helps strengthen the relationship between patient and provider. It assists patients in taking control of their health, and enhances the provider’s ability to deliver appropriate care.

In short, Ideomed recognizes that technology is not the end, it is the means to the end – better health outcomes and improved quality of life. We’ll be the first to admit that the challenge is great, but the potential for a more positive future is well worth the effort.

Not to mention, the alternative is SCARY!

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