Late last week I had the chance to speak with the creators of the only true PHR (no, I do not consider simple ICE-type apps a PHR) that I know of which was purposely designed for the iPhone, My Life Record.
My Life Record was created by the small company, Life Record based in Albuquerque NM. The company’s primary business is their ambulatory EMR, Life Record, for small to medium size physician practices. They offer an iPhone “gateway” to the EMR solution for physicians.
Company has close ties to Apple and decided to develop a PHR (My Life Record) for the iPhone & iTouch, which was released at the same time as the new 3G iPhone in June of this year. While the company originally released two versions of My Life Record, single user license for $19.99, or a multi-user license for $49.99, they now offer only the multi-user version, which can support up to 12 profiles.
The company stores all data in a secure off-site Tier 1 data center. All data is encrypted and they have even developed a “handshake” technology to insure that data is secure and unaltered when transmitted. My Life Record is pretty basic app in that with the exception of images and videos, most health data is in the form of faxes from the physician or lab. Company does use optical character recognition (OCR) technology to insure that the files are stored in the correct places (e.g., labs go in the lab section). My Life Record on the iPhone/iTouch has a number of different icons easing navigation.
Their Experiences on the AppStore:
- Developing the application with the Apple software development kit (SDK) was straight-forward with sufficient support.
- The Apple MobileMe has been less than stellar causing a lot of problems for them and subsequently, their customers. They have migrated to a competing platform to provide such messaging services.
- Initially, the consumer reviews section allowed anyone, whether they purchased the app or not to provide comments/reviews. This created a lot of headaches for them as some wit questionable motives were using the review section to discount their app. Apple has addressed this problem allowing only those who purchase an app to comment on it.
- After a strong start, they now have well over a thousand customers actively using the app, sales have fallen off significantly. We at Chilmark believe this is a direct function of where My Life Record shows up in the health & wellness section of the AppStore. The default on entering the AppStore is a presentation of the most recent apps. If one does not constantly refresh/upgrade their app in some small way, they can easily drift back as is the case for My Life Record which now is nearly on the last page of all apps listed.
- Life Record, like many other developers, shares the concern that Apple reserves the right to pull an app off the store for any number of reasons, at their discretion, so when never feels completely at ease.
Next for My Life Record:
Company is looking to expand beyond the AppStore and are about ready to release an app built atop of Google’s mobile platform Android. They will also build a similar app for Microsoft-based smartphones.
Challenges for My Life Record:
The company has taken a direct to consumer strategy for their PHR. As they are quickly finding out, one can only go so far and they are not hitting the rosy projections they once had for My Life Record. Breathing new life into the app with a new version to be released any day now along with expanding the platform for Android and MS-based smartphones will only go so far. The company needs to take a good hard look at its go-to-market strategy, pursuing the more successful and proven strategy of B2B2C.
The current My Life Record does the basics and not much more. Would be nice to see them open up the app to accept records in digital form (CCR or CCD). A nice added feature would be an ability to annotate records. At this time, this feature is not supported.
Lastly, the iPhone (and other smartphones) are potentially very powerful platforms for not just storing, accessing and sharing files, as is the case with My Life Record, but for providing actionable information. It is unlikely that My Life Record will be able to do this on their own and a partnership strategy to offer new capabilities is a worthwhile pursuit.