In healthcare, the ability to collect data does not mean that we should. As mobile health tools become increasingly sophisticated and pervasive, both physicians and patients alike will soon to face an avalanche of data without any guidance on how to use it. Qualcomm Life’s announcement, at its annual Uplinq conference, that on August 15th they would release a software development kit (SDK) for the forthcoming 2net App could change that by enabling developers to access the rich data stream of the 2net network. In addition, they announced a developer challenge to encourage the development of innovative apps using this SDK.
In addition to the excitement around the possibilities this announcement raises, there are also two more subtle points of interest. First, the SDK is limited to the development of consumer applications, which presumably means apps that are not subject to FDA regulations – a clear limitation of the types of apps that can be developed.
Second, the worth the initial SDK will be available only for Android; much like Kaiser’s Android-first app release, this raises some interesting questions about iOs and Android in healthcare. Going one step further though, its not hard to imagine apps that do help manage difficult diseases. One may choose to pair a few vital signs with activity level and a symptom checklist to try to catch heart failure earlier. In others, monitoring of inhaler use may be paired with educational material to help reduce asthma symptoms and exacerbations. Or one may even simply equip a patient population with a set of mobile sensors to better understand their disease.
A footnote to this announcement is that the SDK will be released for Android first, with an unspecified release in the future for Windows and iOS. This may simply be a reflection of the fact that Android has an overall greater marketshare than iOS among smartphone users, though that would ignore the dominance of iOS in the tablet market.