Why ‘one app to rule them all’ is not the future of digital health

Share on TwitterChris Hogg is a digital health supporter thinking about how brand-new types of health information are altering the relationship in between doctor and client. As CCO of Propeller Health , he leads the business’s San Francisco workplace and manages the pharma BD, health system and payer sales, medical and medical information and affairs science groups.More posts by this factor Digital health is growing quick — — however at what expense?

““ One app to rule them all” ” is an engaging concept if you’’ re a health caregiant.


In this envisioned design, clients flock to one detailed user experience for all their health care requires, from insurance coverage and scheduling to laboratory outcomes and illness management. And the health care giant, which has actually established or obtained its method to market supremacy, now has the capability to guide clients to their favored suppliers, services and treatments.

But ““ one app to rule them all ” is flawed. Not just does it disregard the method individuals utilize innovation, it puts the client experience second. Requiring clients to utilize one app for every single health care interaction ignores the intricacy and uniqueness of private illness and client profiles.

Until now, we sanctuary’’ t needed to “consider the” “ one app ” issue, since a lot of health care experiences have actually been reasonably diverse. As payers, service providers, drug stores, pharma and digital health all race to develop digital experiences and strengthen their offerings, we will quickly have to challenge this concern: Will we end up with different illness management apps that work together in a best-of-breed community design, or will numerous big gamers control with one app to rule them all?

.How we got here.

Up previously, the concern of who would manage the user experience wasn’’ t a product concern in the market. A lot of apps didn ’ t have a big adequate user base to strike their rivals, and companies produced ““ single function ” experiences for a particular issue area.


Payers developed tools to let you search for protection and discover suppliers, health systems enabled you to book consultations and see your EMR and laboratory information, drug stores enabled you to fill up prescriptions, pharmaceutical business made apps to support their particular medications and most effective digital health business have actually concentrated on specific illness and particular usage cases.

But now that digital health has actually settled and client adoption is broadening, these ““ single function ” experiences are beginning to run into each other. And companies are responding to this modification in various methods.

Many health systems and payers acknowledge this as a chance to develop a community design, taking best-of-breed options for each core client requirement and linking them through identity and information connecting so they work flawlessly together.

But amazingly, some big companies see this as a chance to assert more control over the client experience.

They’’ re trying to establish ““ one app to rule them all ” services, with one user experience covering all clients with all possible illness.

At Propeller, we just recently ““ separated ” with a consumer who couldn’’ t see past their vision for a single dominant app to rule the market.

It was a difficult choice, however one I felt we needed to make. Here’’ s why.

. Why “ one app to rule them all ” lead to an even worse client experience.

The benefit to ““ one app to rule them all” ” is apparent on its face. Clients would have less apps to engage and download with, benefits that appear more noticable in more complex and comorbid clients. Organizations would likewise have the ability to guide clients to their favored companies, treatments and services by means of a single app.

But there’’ s a substantial issue with this technique.

When one platform attempts to master a huge variety of locations, it generally winds up doing them all terribly. If you’’ ve utilized a leading marketing software application platform that I won’’ t name, you understand this to be real. And health care is a lot more challenging, due to the fact that it’’ s at the same time more complex and more individual. It ends up it is quite simple to develop a complex and complex item, however it is extremely tough to construct a basic one, specifically with a wide range of inputs and utilize cases.

Healthcare isn’’ t quickfood.


All my experience in digital health has actually informed me this: It’’ s extremely tough to develop a helpful and appealing user experience in one illness state, not to mention throughout numerous illness states within one experience.

Enrolling users is hard. Keeping them engaged is hard. Improving particular scientific results — — and showing it continually — is specifically difficult. Making a terrific item needs a compulsive concentrate on a particular user and issue area, along with ruthless experimentation and model. When you wear’’ t have that particular focus, the requirements of the client are deprioritized compared to the requirements of the company, and the user suffers.

To make this method rewarding, you’’d need to think that the benefit of one app would offset an even worse user experience by driving greater registration or retention rates. You’’d need to think that user experience just doesn’’ t matter as much as the benefit of an all-in-one platform.

I put on’’ t think that. Health care isn’’ t junk food. Individuals’’ s mankind, self-respect and lives are at stake, and they deserve our compulsive concentrate on an experience constructed particularly for them.

.Why a ““ finest of type ” community technique is best.

We ’ ve discovered a lot in the last 20 years about how individuals choose to utilize innovation. If you desire proof that ““ finest of type ” is the future, you just require to seek to the other markets experiencing digital change.

For example, take a look at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It’’ s controlled by a great deal of particular services that interact through identity (OAuth) and information combinations (APIs).

It’’ s a comparable story in customer apps. There is no single physical fitness app, travel app or interaction app. In home entertainment numerous attempted to end up being the “one app,” however rather we have actually seen an expansion of vertical material suppliers with private memberships, such a Netflix, HBO, Disney and ESPN, all of which interact effortlessly on your Apple TELEVISION. Even when a significant business gets or establishes brand-new options, they frequently keep the services different in regards to user experience. Facebook has unbundled Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp rather of bundling them all as Facebook.

We as customers are comfy utilizing particular services to resolve particular issues, and desire them all to collaborate with ease. Typically, we discover that when a significant gamer branches into increasingly more services since they desire our overall organisation, each option ends up being more shoddily made, less instinctive and more improperly supported.

Now, this circumstance is not always universal. In China, items like Tencent’’ s WeChat have actually broadened throughout numerous health care verticals, backed by extremely various market characteristics (both in health care and in innovation). Even WeChat looks to 3rd celebrations with finest of type services to grow their environment, in addition to constructing numerous options themselves.

.What the future appear like.

The future I visualize might not include a single app, however neither is it made complex.

In this future, clients utilize a core medical app, most likely offered by their health system or medical care supplier, that looks after scientific interactions like scheduling, medical information, follow-ups and tips.

Beyond that, clients utilize a set of particular apps that concentrate on specific health concerns — — for instance, breathing illness, diabetes, psychological health, increasing activity or enhancing sleep. Those apps will increase to the leading since they’’ re the very best on the marketplace at handling those problems. The experience of handling your psychological health will feel various than handling your diabetes, simply as utilizing Instagram feels various than utilizing Facebook.

In this community design, the client’’ s core medical app will connect out to and link to the problem-specific services. Health doctors and systems will embrace a little number of specialized platforms and items to concentrate on big scientific domains like cardiovascular, diabetes, psychological and breathing health. Information from these services will incorporate back to the service provider’’ s company and will be offered in the EMR and for population health management.

We’’ ll wind up with a varied environment of options, each the very best in their vertical, providing a customized user experience based upon the requirements of the particular client and company type.

And clients will be much better off for it.

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