Is mHealth the American Bandstand of the 21st Century?


The recent death of American music and pop culture icon Dick Clark made me think about how his television show which began in 1957 is similar to mHealth. It initially introduced a type of music, rock and roll, via live performances of the up and coming stars of the day. Rock and roll was rapidly becoming the rage of music for teens. Dick Clark had Elvis and Chubby (no surname necessary), and subsequently Madonna as demonstration projects for the masses, beyond the young crowd. The show did not invent music nor claim to do so. It redefined how it was marketed and accepted. Mobile health technologies, likewise, will not invent but redefine health care.
American Bandstand (AB) presented music types and artists that had just shortly before caught on with young people. It was an outlet for the expression of generational independence and a self-expression. It was a place where one did not need to hold a dance partner and gyrate to the music on television without being self-conscious. How liberating. Who would’ve thought that music would get ‘points’ for having a good beat to dance to independent of its lyrics or melody? Mobile health is one facet of the impact of mobile technologies on our society. There is now what is known as ‘the mobile generation’, a sector of the population which does not use desktop computers. (See http://newlearninginstitute.org/film-series/a-21st-century-education/technology-and-21st-century-learning). Younger people are the predominant adopters of direct to consumer fitness and wellness apps. They are more likely to have smart phones and to use the internet to research health-related issues. However, significant strides are seen in the diffusion of mHealth technology use among older people.
AB was the stimulus for many changes in music. It was both influenced by and influenced changes in popularity of various genres of music. Many types of music showcased there did not fit into a neat marketing label and created a sense of individuality for many until Madison Avenue finally commercialized it. Mobile health technologies are being developed in response to needs of the health care marketplace, but are also changing the way in which providers will approach the delivery of care. They will redefine medicine in terms of personalized approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
Rock and roll showcased on AB was developed out of the love musicians had for the new expressive freedom intuitive in the music. It encompassed many cultures and influences. One need only to think about the introduction of Santana‘s Latin or Bob Marley’s reggae influences to America’s youth. The show broke down racial and cultural barriers. mHealth will hopefully decrease digital and health care divides (see https://davidleescher.com/2012/01/10/decreasing-digital-and-health-divides/).
Music is an integral part of my soul. So is my passion for digital health technologies. So it was natural to put Dick Clark’s passing in terms of what AB was to music and its analogy to mHealth. Comments?

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About davidleescher

David Lee Scher, MD is Founder and Director at DLS HEALTHCARE CONSULTING, LLC, which specializes in advising digital health technology companies, their partners, investors, and clients. As a cardiac electrophysiologist and pioneer adopter of remote patient monitoring, he understood early on the challenges that the culture and landscape of healthcare present to the development and adoption of digital technologies. He is a well-respected thought leader in mobile and other digital health technologies. Scher lectures worldwide on relevant industry topics including the role of tech in Pharma, patient advocacy, standards for development and adoption, and impact on patients and healthcare systems from clinical, risk management, operational and marketing standpoints. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine.
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2 Responses to Is mHealth the American Bandstand of the 21st Century?

  1. manavsahay says:

    http://healthworkscollective.com/ruchi-dass/32445/mobile-health-around-globe-dr-ruchi-dass-and-mhealthindia-plans-2012
    Mobile Health is going to be a 3000 crore (editor’s note: about 557 million dollar) market in India by 2017. (Source PwC). M-health (use of mobile phones) and E-health are all set to make an entry into India’s primary health centres (PHCs) and sub-centres as the health ministry plans to go hi-tech. Healthcare industry is expected to show a strong growth of 23% per annum to become a US$ 77 billion industry by 2012. One of the largest sector in terms of revenue and employment has grown at 9.3% per annum between 2000-2009 with a current size at par with fastest growing developing country like China, Brazil and Mexico.Driven by various catalysts such as increasing population, rising income levels, changing demographics and illness profile with a shift from chronic to life style diseases, healthcare industry is expected to move to levels of US$ 77 billion in next 3 years.

    • While I am always a bit skeptical about figures of financial projections of this type, given the complexities of adoption and present barriers your point is certainly well taken regarding the potential impact of these technologies. Thank you for your quote of this work.

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