Health IT

Medable’s mhealth platform seeks to transform app development

online digital collaborationNot too long ago, dermatologist resident Dr. Michelle Longmire was crowdfunding on Medstartr for an app to improve care coordination for cancer patients. Now she’s the CEO of a mobile health startup Medable piloting a platform to help other mobile health app developers. The service helps them with HIPAA compliance and to enable them to transmit data securely between patients and their physicians.

In a phone interview with MedCity News, Longmire was amped about the opportunities she sees in the mobile health service space. Looking at the $5 billion mobile health market, she believes her company could carve out a big piece of it. “One year from now we would like Medable to be one of the key utilities for clinical health,” she said.

Longmire said her work as a physician gives her a more informed perspective on how apps fit into the healthcare landscape – better than many developers.

The platform encrypts patient information, secures it as it is transferred to the cloud and protects data at rest. In addition to the HIPAA compliance component, the platform is also designed to help app developers with care delivery, communication, and data dashboards.


It also provides apps with HL7 compatability so data can be transmitted to electronic health records.

“My frustration is there is a lot of talk about digital health tools but they need to fit into point of care,” Longmire said. “We want people to utilize the tools and we want platform costs to scale with users benefit from it.”

Longmire estimates that HIPAA compliance costs account for as much as 80 percent of development costs. It increases the complexity of developing mHealth apps which can prolong the app development for as long as a year .

A group of app developers are currently trying out the platform. They include a wellness app developer that wants to help patients share information with nurses and doctors. There’s also a company that offers MDs and nurses on demand that wants to make it easier for patients to communicate with the doctors. Another is creating an application for surgeons that will leverage the platform to monitor wound healing for post surgical care. The idea is to use their feedback to tweak the platform.

Additionally, she sees the opportunity for hospitals to use the platform to develop customer satisfaction surveys, which play a role in Medicare reimbursement.

She sees plenty of scope for Medable’s platform to be used by small developers to health systems and companies across the health ecosystem. Longmire likens the company’s business model to Dropbox –- there’s a freemium, but it scales with data utilization.

In addition to providing a platform for developers, Longmire and her co-founders have developed their own set of apps. Dermtap went live on the iTunes app store eight weeks ago. Dermatologists use the app to snap patient images with their smartphone, store them securely in the cloud and consult on challenging cases with colleagues. It’s also looking to release its cancer coordination app Together, soon.

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