We Can’t App Our Way Into Better Health or Healthcare

It’s cool and all that we can track our every step, our every weight, our every heartbeat, our every glucose reading.

Cooler still is to receive relevant feedback based on all the tracks.

Cooler yet is to gain proper interpretation of what the feedback means.

Even cooler is for us to get healthier and to deliver better care with all this tracking.

That last sentence – it’s not *just* cooler: it’s crux.

We can build all kinds of mobile applications. We can track all sorts of things.

But if we track the wrong things, we’ll simply railroad ourselves – or at least hop on the wrong train.

It’s not enough to track all those pushups and all those marathons.

In fact, how do you know that all those sweaty visits to the gym aren’t slowly making invisible tears in your muscles – how do you know that all those tears aren’t inducing a chronic state of tiny inflammatory processes that one day will lead to a myocardial infarction?

You see, the problems in front of you aren’t the problems in front of you: for an app that tracks your gym activity *might* be blinding you to some other problems.

Building and using more and more apps won’t convey us into better health or healthcare. Yes, they can help nudge and guide us – and that’s important as long as the contexts and processes into which those nudges and guides are the right ones.

An app is a module.

Health is a whole.

And Healthcare is more than the sum of modules.

0 Replies to “We Can’t App Our Way Into Better Health or Healthcare”

  1. While health apps have potential to improve our health, the issue that concerns me the most is that the majority of these apps are not being tested for their scientific validity. And indeed as you point out Phil, some people may look to these apps rather than seeking a health care professionals’ opinion.

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