HIStalk Connect Interviews Joseph Kvedar, MD, Director, Partners Center for Connected Health

Joseph Kvedar, MD is founder and director of the Partners Center for Connected Health of Boston, MA. He recently announced his involvement with Wellocracy.

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What is Wellocracy, who are its investors, and how will you be involved?

Wellocracy is a community dedicated to empowering and engaging people to simply — and effectively — manage their health and wellness in ways that were never before possible. Our formula is straightforward:  track your activity, find your individual set of motivational tools, and find ways to increase your activity without disrupting your life.

I’m one of the original founders of Wellocracy, along with best-selling self-help author Carol Colman and integrative medicine practitioner and former personal trainer  Dr. Justin Mager.

How will your role at the Center for Connected Health change?

A large part of my job at the Center for Connected Health is thought leadership, and that includes publishing, blogging, and speaking about connected health. My primary role in Wellocracy will be to provide content for the books and the website, so my role at the Center will not change.

Are consumers demanding and benefiting from health and wellness apps in significant numbers?

There is lots of interest and also lots of hype. The app world is primarily designed to drive downloads  The vast majority of health related apps that are downloaded are used once or not at all. Thus the problem is one of “stickiness.”

Wellocracy will attack that by helping our members and readers get in touch with their own motivational fingerprint so they can use the apps and design their own program to keep them engaged.

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People are realizing that mobile apps and data streams, just like the bathroom scale, don’t motivate the vast majority of people who could benefit from lifestyle changes. Will Wellocracy address the behavioral issues that cause people to follow unhealthy practices?

In our books and on our website, we’ll help people find their stickiness factor, the right motivational strategies that will inspire them to stay on track to achieve their goals even if they were not able to stick to a fitness program before. Our philosophy is, you don’t have to turn your life upside down to turn your health around. People can become slimmer, stronger, fitter, and happier by making easy and incremental changes that can easily be incorporated into the busiest lives.

What was most strikingly different about the mHealth Summit now that HIMSS has taken it over and the market has changed?

It feels more like a HIMSS event, i.e., there is more structure and the exhibit area is much larger.

Do you like the term mHealth, or is there a better word and description of the kinds of work being done in trying to change population health rather than the delivery of healthcare services?

We coined the term “connected health” in 2005 and still feel it best describes the wide-ranging use of technology and connectivity to reimagine how health care can be delivered.

What kinds of technologies and companies have the greatest chance to quickly improve health or reduce health-related costs?

The next phase of adoption of connected health will involve tools to allow doctors to take their work into a mobile environment. That will improve quality and efficiency.

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