Although a significant number of medical and technology researchers see smartphones as “health’s next frontier” — and they may well be right — to date we have limited data that allow us to make declarative statements about the value of the health apps people are starting to use on their cell phones.

An article in Saturday’s Los Angeles Times looks at some very specific potential applications of “m-health” technology and quotes two authorities in the field.

According to Wendy Nilsen at the National Institutes of Health:

A lot of what’s being built is still in the research stage.

and she goes on to point out that we don’t actually have data to confirm the actual benefits of what’s already available.

Similarly, according to Dr. Bruce Dobkin of the neurologic rehabilitation program at the University of California, Los Angeles:

We have all of this cool technology, and all kinds of cool applications, but will anything meaningfully improve healthcare? We need clinical trials to show that.

Without data to support the value of m-health technology, there’s a great deal of enthusiasm and passion, but we are going to need the real data to validate the very apparent opportunities.

About Mike Scott

Mike Scott is a highly experienced health care communications strategist with Calcium. He is also a board member of three different patient advocacy organizations. To get more detail, see his profile on LinkedIn.

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