We recently highlighted gamification as the most predominant emerging trend in mobile health among developers and thought leaders at the 2011 Mobile Health World Congress in Boston. The second emerging trend in the mobile health ecosystem that became clear at the World Congress was the idea of a “platform of platforms” (PoPs) business model.
Kony Mobile Healthcare is a new division of the company’s business and is led by Aaron Kaufman, who spoke at the World Congress. The key to Kony’s technology is the “Write Once, Run Everywhere” platform, which allows applications to be developed using just one unified code base and distributed seamlessly across all mobile platforms. The concept is taken one step further with the company’s “Change Once, Change Everywhere” policy, which ensures that any change in message, flow, feature or design is simultaneously applied to the application across all extensible clients, achieving an effective, broad and consistent mobile experience. Sounds very much like a platform of platforms to me.
“We’ve developed Kony Healthcare and Life Sciences Solution Accelerators, along with our Platform, to be device and operating system agnostic, so these businesses are able to reach all their patients and members in the broadest sense regardless of the device or operating system,” noted Aaron Kaufman.
Happtique offers healthcare enterprises (i.e. hospitals, continuing care facilities, physician practices, etc.) the ability to create individually branded, secure sub-stores that support employee and patient mobile technology use. One key feature of the Happtique solution is the ability to integrate multiple platforms and personal devices within one unified application distribution, management and monitoring “platform of platforms”. Happtique is currently seeking strategic partnerships with health care enterprises to develop branded app stores to distribute apps that are custom designed for the needs of each individual enterprise.
The PoPs concept fits well with the third emerging trend in the mobile health ecosystem, which is the propensity of major health systems to develop their own apps internally either by hiring a team of developers or even launching their own mobile app startup.
Dale Potter, SVP and CIO at The Ottawa Hospital, described one such strategy at his own institution. Potter’s strategy for incorporating mobile health apps into the health care enterprise was to buy 2000 iPads and hire 120 developers to build custom apps which he could more easily control and monitor. Potter cited having to support multiple platforms and unregulated apps as two key reasons for purchasing the devices outright and creating apps in-house.
Recently, Cleveland Clinic has taken a similar approach by starting an internal app incubator. Last year, Mayo Clinic launched its own mobile app startup called mRemedy, to develop and distribute branded apps.
In all, what we are likely seeing are the outlines of what the future of mobile health, and thereby healthcare as a whole, will be.