The consumer health market and traditional medicine: Bridging the divide

30 July 2014 | Dr. Simon Kos, Health Industry Manager for Microsoft Australia

In my last blog, I discussed the divide between traditional medicine and the consumer health space. And I focused on how consumer health solutions could help improve our current healthcare system.

On the flip side, how could conventional medical practices benefit the consumer health market?

One of the reasons for the divide between the two spaces is that the consumer health market doesn’t have the same checks and balances as the traditional medical system. All these health apps and tools are coming out every day with the very best intentions, but they aren’t subject to the same standards for regulation and oversight that are inherent in our conventional healthcare system.

As a result, many doctors don’t trust consumer health solutions enough to recommend them to their patients. According to recent polling results from QuantiaMD, a social learning network for physicians, 42 percent of physicians won’t prescribe apps because there’s no regulatory oversight of them, and 21 percent won’t prescribe apps because there’s no longitudinal data on apps’ effectiveness.

“When a prescription drug goes generic, it has at least seven years of data about its effectiveness and safety, which gives physicians assurance that patients can use it for self-care,” said Mike Paskavitz, editor-in-chief of Quantia, Inc., in a press release from the company. “Medical apps have no history of either effectiveness or safety.”

Putting consumer health apps through the same regulatory rigors as prescription medication probably isn’t realistic. However, it seems we need some sort of oversight process whereby a credible health body can vet and approve consumer health solutions. That would likely go a long way toward doctors feeling more confident about prescribing the many helpful, preventive, consumer health tools that are out there.

Ultimately, to bridge the current divide between the traditional healthcare system and the burgeoning consumer health space, we’ll need to look at how we can bring the merits of one to the other. How can we incorporate more consumer health solutions that help people take better care of themselves into the traditional healthcare system? And how can we facilitate something similar to the checks and balances of conventional medicine in the consumer health space?

Answering these questions will be vital to bringing the best of both worlds together.

Have a comment or opinion on this post or a question for the author? Please send us an email or let us know on Facebook or via Twitter.

​ ​​​

Dr. Simon Kos
Health Industry Manager for Microsoft Australia

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Dr. Simon Kos | Health Industry Manager for Microsoft Australia

Dr. Simon Kos is the Health Industry Manager for Microsoft in Australia. He is responsible for the vision for health in Australia, and how Microsoft solutions and partners make that a reality. Read more