To Buy or to Build Mobile Health Apps - That is the QuestionFor some time, healthcare hospitals and providers have believed that instead of re-inventing a wheel, the “buy it” versus “build it” strategy with mobile apps worked best.

But interestingly, the need for good mobile apps that satisfy the hospital’s patients, clinicians, and employees is outrunning the ability of the market to develop them.

That’s the take from NY-Presbyterian CIO Aurelia Boyer. In a recent interview posted by Information Week Healthcare, Boyer said she once came down on the buy versus build side.

“I think there was a point in time when I probably said such things myself,” explained Boyer, whose organization is now working to develop its own mobile software. “I think what we’re facing now is different. The most obvious driver of that is that the way consumers use their phones is so different.”

And there are other issues.

“If you look at what healthcare vendors are delivering for the mobile environment, it’s pretty primitive — another version of what we have in the workstation environment,” noted Boyer.

What are the pressing needs?

“According to Boyer, what are really needed are innovations in workflow that will change the way the hospital does business,” according to Information Week. “While electronic health records had to be imposed from the top as an enterprise initiative, doctors and other hospital employees are demanding mobile innovation because their experiences as consumers have sparked their imaginations about what might — and should — be possible.”

Boyer has allies.

“External drivers show what’s possible, and they want that to be part of healthcare,” said Peter M. Fleischut, an MD who serves as associate chief innovation officer at NY-Presbyterian. “I want that to be part of healthcare, too.”

While the entire interview story is worth a read, the take-away is that Boyer believes mobile apps “hint at the potential to do so much more.”

“When you think about the complexity (patients) encounter in their day-to-day lives — I really think we can have an impact on that. I also think we have an opportunity to change the patient experience and make it more modern, so that when patients come into the hospital they don’t feel like they’ve all of a sudden left the modern world,” she concluded.