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@TechnicalJones: 2011 mHealth Summit - My Thoughts

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With more than 2,500 clinicians, physicians, government employees, business people, and then some, in attendance, my own attendance at this year's mHealth Summit left me feeling a bit better than in the past.  

Not better physically, as would be the case if everything on display was being used throughout the health care industry, but giving me the peace of mind in that it seemed as though more attendees were there for education rather than to just see the technology on display.
 
Obviously, I wanted to see the newest technical innovations available for the health care industry - and I wasn't disappointed.  Monitoring devices and systems were numerous, companies that would gather the data were there, and the businesses that offered solutions for ensuring the security and privacy of medical information were all exhibiting their wares. 

Of course, mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon were also on hand to demonstrate their offerings and show support for all the services that will travel over their networks.
 
Keynoters also mentioned the need for education throughout the healthcare ecosystem, noting the advancements in technology far outpaced the understanding of the benefits that could be delivered if embraced.  They each highlighted what could be done in their areas of expertise.  

For example, the chairman of the FCC spoke on the need to offer broadband services to every household and community in the United States by the end of the decade - providing a glimmer of hope that rural health care will be able to take advantage of the technical advancements in health care.
 
Although called the mHealth Summit, with the "m" obviously highlighting "mobile," I found that what the conference really was embracing was more associated with "connected health," a broader category that in most cases had mobility at its core.  It's a slight difference in how you look at it but an important difference.  

In one of my many conversations at the show, Rob McCray, president of the Wireless Life Sciences Alliance, made a point of talking about that with me and others attending the show.  WLSA is an industry organization working to link technical health care innovation with practical applications and benefits of everything on display at the show.    
 
Many of the health care solutions on exhibit, such as home monitoring systems for seniors or outpatients from companies like Independa, have mobility as a component of the overall solution.

The monitors and alarms of these systems reside within a device located in the home and can transmit the data captured simultaneously to remote endpoints located in a health care facility, private home caregiver office and even to a family member's mobile device to ensure their mom or dad is okay.
 
I believe that education needs to be an emphasis for those involved in designing these products and services, for regulators that need to approve the technology, and for those who will use the tools.  

Even though I am heartened to hear more about education in conversations by companies and in keynotes, as the worlds of health care and mobility continue to collide, education is imperative to the success of true healthcare reform. 
 
I think it is safe to say the requirements for a mHealth 101 course have yet to be developed.
 
Good mhealth to all.

 
@TechnicalJones  


@TechnicalJones: 2011 mHealth Summit Pictures

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View from the floor:

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@TechnicalJones: More from the 2011 mHealth Summit

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@TechnicalJones: 2011 mHealth Summit

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Should be fun!


 Will keep you updated . . .



Next week, thousands of people will attend this year's mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., and you can expect to see yours truly front and center. 

While I attended these in the past, and have been cynical about the actual impact and use of all the Star Wars type products and services on exhibit, I am beginning to see some adoption by the medical community at large.

Some, but not a lot.  The introduction of new health care technology still seems to be far outpacing the actual use by health care institutions, doctors and patients.  It would be really great if this year's event could find a way to close the gap - showing more of a direct link between people and the benefits technology can deliver.

Again, the big names will exhibit some of the more accepted health care technologies, those that offer monitoring services or reminders of when to take medication. 

There will also be smaller more innovative start-up companies whose products and services will either make their way into mainstream health care, fall by the wayside for lack of funding or serving a niche market, or get gobbled up by one of the larger companies (good for them!) that want to add it into their overall health care offering.

I've always believed that technology should offer a solution to a problem.  Introducing technology for technology's sake gets you no more than Andy Warhol's oft mentioned "15 minutes of fame." 

Unlike other industries that have a 'rise and fall' effect of products and services, health care is forever, and those offering usable solutions can reap the benefits...along with patients.  For example, ABI Research recently stated that it expected the mobile health application market to grow to more than $400 million by 2016.

So the companies will open their booths and people will stroll through the exhibits.  They will watch in amazement at the magical solutions on hand and then wonder when and if they will be available to the general public.  It will be a familiar scene but one that will hopefully end with many of these health care solutions becoming available to people in the coming year.

For me, I will visit as many of the exhibits as possible and provide an overview of the companies and their products in the weeks to come.

Stay tuned . . .


@TechnicalJones
 
 
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