Five Questions: Paul Choi, CEO Worry Free Labs
PointClear acquired Worry Free Labs in New York City last November with the intent to bring its incredible consumer app development expertise to the healthcare market. Check out their updated website to learn more about this awesome team and the work they do.
Paul Choi leads Worry Free. I am starting a blog series called Five Questions where I will be interviewing our clients and industry stalwarts on what is happening in their world of health or healthcare technology, and any insight they have regarding the state of the industry and trends to watch.
I’ll start with Sir Paul.
Five Questions Blog Series – Paul Choi, CEO Worry Free Labs
Me: First up, I know you’ve had your head in the issues of what is different between designing apps for non-healthcare vs healthcare over the last year. What would you say are the key differences?
Paul: Mobile Health is pretty broad in terms opportunities for useful applications. You have wellness, clinical diagnosis, remote monitoring, patient reminders and scheduling, content references, clinical and administrative productivity and so on. Healthcare is generally behind the adoption curve of technology, as most people know. But mHealth is an extraordinary opportunity to catch up. The key difference we’ve seen thus far is the that the health apps we see in the market right now don’t have a keen design focus on the user’s experience. App builders catering to consumer intensive industries understand this and have been playing to that need for years.
Me: Where is the low hanging fruit?
Paul: Wellness and fitness apps have dominated the early mHealth era so I would say they were the low hanging fruit. They provided immediate value for the fit or want to be fit crowd, low barriers to development and integration and plenty of funding. But the market is pretty much saturated.
Me: Where do you see the greatest healthcare mobile app development challenges in the next few years?
Paul: Without question, the next greatest value will be with apps that create value for those consumers and docs dealing with chronic conditions – that also happens to be where the majority of the health dollar is being spent. But with that come the greatest challenges. The same hard issues and barriers that exist today for enterprise and web apps also exist for mobile apps – data interoperability and liquidity. Plus, go ahead and throw in security and privacy, which is harder with mobile.
Me: We hear or read about patient engagement or patient empowerment everywhere these days. Being relatively new to healthcare, what does that mean to you?
Paul: It means the healthcare industry is finally “getting it”! (Laugh). We are aware of the EHR Meaningful Use program that provides some definition of what the government wants to see, but as everyone in consumer demand driven industries knows, you must design technology that draws the user into adoption by creating exceptionally high value. For a patient consumer that translates to solving the traditional pain points they have: lack of knowledge or understanding or diagnosis or procedures, scheduling nightmares, long wait times on results, duplicate tests and data entry, ready and easy access to their clinical history, and so on.
To be engaged you must have knowledge, access to all relevant information and tools to interact with those healthcare stakeholders in your universe that matter.
Me: Finally, what are you hopes and dreams for Worry Free Labs?
Paul: We want to be a part of changing the game in mHealth, or said another way, to evolve healthcare mobile applications whereby they are the primary test bed for health IT innovation. HIT innovation is hard and expensive which means it happens conservatively and slowly. Mobile app design and development to innovate faster and cheaper makes perfect sense.
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