New Orleans, LA. You’ve heard of the genius bar concept. Apple pioneered it in their stores as a station where customers could belly-up and ask genius ‘bartenders’ questions about devices, apps, and also get their hands on new technology.

Well, Ochsner Health Systems in Louisiana made headlines when they launched the first-of-its-kind health genius bar. The O bar, which is nestled right within the halls of the hospital, is equipped with iPads, smartphones and wearable tech. On these devices: over 200 curated, medically approved patient health apps. Behind the bar: tech-savvy staff that are familiar with the programs and ready to give tutorials and help patients get set up on their own devices.

The apps on the list include programs to quit smoking, lose weight, track metrics, evaluate food choices, and provide information and tips for pregnant mothers, among others. Ochsner is also one of the first to use Apple HealthKit to integrate with their EMR (electronic medical record) software, providing patients with additional information from their personal patient records.

What’s fascinating about this initiative is that it bridges health-care and self-care. It acknowledges that providers can play a hands-on role in helping patients navigate tools for managing health. It puts the patient at the center and recognizes that much of patient outcome is dependent on what happens in between appointments. And, it recognizes that there are technologies and apps that can be valuable parts of that equation.

According to MobiHealth, “A number of other hospitals are premiering HealthKit integrations, and at least one other hospital, Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, has a similar on-site health app store.”

Here’s to hoping that this trend continues. Cheers.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.