Archive for October, 2014



Johns Hopkins mHealth Report Shows Technology’s Impact in Developing Countries

October 20th, 2014
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My friend Alain Labrique, director of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Global mHealth Initiative, recently issued the initiative’s 2014 Annual Report, and I’m not at all embarrassed to share my initial response upon opening it:

Wow!

From its work with Maiti Nepal to use mobile technology to prevent human trafficking; to improving maternal health by providing remote education, advice and services; to collaborating with policy leaders in South Asia to enable evidence-based mhealth innovations – all 130 projects supported by the initiative are inspiring. The JHU report provides proof that digital and mobile technologies can indeed help resolve what had been seen as intractable health problems, in resource-constrained countries. For infectious disease, nutrition, and social issues that are enormous problems in the developing world, digital tools can enable fundamental epidemiology research, and begin to overcome persistent problems of unequal access to healthcare.

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Dodging Product Development Failures, Part 3 – Integrated Team Work

October 16th, 2014
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There are many elements that lead to a successfully developed product; we’ve already covered two important factors: 1) Assessing all risks and going beyond prototype development and 2) developing an uncanny customer insight. In this post, I’ll discuss a third key element, the importance of teamwork.

Pitfall: Team activities that are not integrated
Product development depends on many different disciplines, including engineering, regulatory, marketing, manufacturing, finance, sales, and quality control. While these specialists bring a depth of expertise, you’ll need to integrate all of them. While a specialist will certainly be able to identify a task and complete it, she or he may balk at attending team meetings where the discussion is far outside her or his specialty. But the best teams are made of people who know how every discipline connects to the product. Only with an integrated team will you know what a customer really wants, have a superior sense of priorities, and gain the ability to shift attributes like price, time to market, or specific product features. Unfortunately, many groups who call themselves teams don’t have this level of connectedness.

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EHRs Must Find Zebras Among the Horses

October 10th, 2014
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This post is originally published on InformationWeek Healthcare, October 8, 2014

 

EHRs should be adaptive, so that when something like the Ebola outbreak occurs, the overworked ER doc has help catching the one critical piece of information that wasn’t as relevant a year ago.

In my last article for InformationWeekWill Electronic Health Records Ever Be Usable?, I introduced the American Medical Association’s EHR usability priorities, published last month. This time let’s dig a little more deeply into some of these priorities.

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Dodging Healthcare Product Development Failures, Part 2 – Developing Uncanny Customer Insight

October 8th, 2014
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In product development, a lot of parts have to be working well for the whole project to succeed. In my last post, we talked about the need for a disciplined approach to developing a product, as well as the need to think beyond the prototype and its design. In this post, I’ll talk about another area of enormous importance to successful development—insight. Just as development isn’t just about product design, insight isn’t just about what your customers say.

Pitfall:  Insufficient customer insight
Truly disruptive innovations address a need that customers can barely articulate before being exposed to the product. Examples of this type of successful development abound; from smartphones to intermittent windshield wipers to single-use bioprocessing. None of these new products addressed a known, clearly expressed need, but in today’s world we couldn’t imagine living without them. While listening to customer ideas, complaints and expressed needs is necessary, product development can’t stop there. Many products that sound perfect during customer interviews end up unused (and unusable) in the real world. Developing something truly new and useful depends on an uncanny insight around what customers are trying to achieve, their environments and the capabilities of alternative technologies.

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Will Electronic Health Records Ever Be Usable?

October 2nd, 2014
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This post is originally published on InformationWeek Healthcare, September 26, 2014

 

AMA attempts to address the frustration EHRs create, especially for doctors and other healthcare workers.

 

“It’s easy to use, once you know where everything is,” the instructor said during an EHR training session I recently attended. Most EHR companies seem to believe this is an acceptable way to design software.

 

EHR usability has been greatly ignored by vendors, and last week the American Medical Association issued eight usability priorities in an attempt to address the issue. This directive comes as a result of a joint study by the RAND Corporation and the AMA highlighting EHRs as a significant detractor from physicians’ professional satisfaction.
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