The company that first delivered a mobile health application to hundreds of thousands of doctors’ pocket was Epocrates. The device was a Palm Pilot (mobile not wireless) and the app was essentially the Physicians Desk Reference. Physician adoption of this free service that helped prescribers to avoid mistakes (e.g. Drug interactions and allergic reactions) represents one of the fastest rates of technology penetration in history. After reaching hundreds of thousands of subscribers, the company built additional functionality and built a business model funded primarily be health sponsors interested in increasing the rate of drug formulary compliance in prescriptions. WLSA showcased the company in our Convergence Summit a couple of times last decade.
Epocrates has “owned” the physician’s pocket but has not taken advantage of that strategic high ground to shape the wireless/mobile heath environment. For that reason, I have been disappointed in the Company. athenahealth, a medical billing company, may have just made a really smart purchase - http://www.epocrates.com/who/media/news/press-releases/athenahealth-acquire-mobile-health-leader-epocrates. The combination of a cloud based medical management platform with Epocrates service and geography is a sound business move. If athenahealth can develop an understanding of how to leverage this platform to shape the future of mobile healthcare, we might have a company that delivers my promise that somewhere in the emerging sector is an “Amazon” of wireless health.