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A conversation with Jacqueline Thong (see bio), co-founder and CEO of Ubiqi Health, about disease management mobile applications and how pharma marketers can leverage mobile health apps to engage with and learn from patients.

Aired LIVE on: Thursday, April 14, 2011

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Background

Ubiqi AppUbiqi Health empowers consumers to take an active role in their health by engaging and uniting patients, peers, family members, and physicians through an interactive health management system which includes: mobile and web-based disease tracking tools, reports to share with physicians and family, and an online community. Ubiqi Health's first application helps migraine sufferers track the frequency and severity of their headaches, treatments used, as well as suspected triggers. The company manages its database and enables partners to access the anonymized patient data for research and lead generation.

Recently, Ubiqi Health's Migraine Tracker crossed the 1500 download mark. With that critical mass of data in its system, Ubiqi can learn from its users information about the most frequently cited migraine triggers and treatments as well as information about pain scores, migraine duration, etc. All this information is available to 3rd parties -- eg, pharmaceutical companies -- in user de-identifiable format.

"The downside," notes Faisal Qureshi, who writes for the Meaningfuluses healthcare IT blog, "is that no one has stepped back and developed some ground rules on patient privacy using mobile."

"Mobile is seen as a way to liberate health data," says Qureshi. "But only if the public can trust it to safeguard their data. Unlike desktop medical applications where enterprises created barriers to information, mobile health apps are distributed directly to patient consumers. This is refreshing, in that gathering health data has become extensible, distributable, while at the same time affordable."

Qureshi cites Ubiqi's upfront approach to privacy disclaimers.

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Questions/Topics Discussed

  • How have you acquired your users so far?
  • What have you seen are the main drivers for consumers to use your tools?
  • How are physicians reacting to mobile apps like yours?
  • What kind of data have you been able to collect through your system?
  • In what ways do you see that pharma marketers can leverage mobile apps?
  • What are some key considerations or challenges when creating healthcare mobile apps?
  • CALL IN Q: What about FDA regulations of apps such as this one? (see Additional Resources)


Guest Bio

Jacqueline Thong Jacqueline Thong is the co-founder and CEO of Ubiqi Health. She has over 11 years of experience in the software and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to starting Ubiqi Health, Jacqueline implemented electronic patient reported outcomes systems for major pharmaceutical companies as a Program Manager at CRF Inc.

Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Jacqueline is now based in Boston, MA. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce with specializations in Marketing and Information Systems from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from INSEAD. Jacqueline enjoys the outdoors and is an avid alpine skier.

Jacqueline can be followed on Twitter: @jacthong


Additional Resources

  • Ubiqi Health Migraine Tracker App - iTunes Store.
  • FDA Weighs Guidelines for Smartphone Health Applications (Bloomberg Video): Applications for smartphones that check on blood sugar or allergies may face the same scrutiny from U.S. regulators as heart stents and defibrillators. The Food and Drug Administration plans to issue draft guidelines this year classifying mobile health tools for handheld computers such as Apple Inc.'s iPhone as medical devices. Bloomberg's Shannon Pettypiece talks with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop."

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