Reflections on the 2013 mHealth Summit

I have been going to the mHealth Summit for the past four years. As much as the mHealth industry is progressive and dynamic, it is also in some ways very slow to develop as many of the discussions and keynotes from this year were not altogether different from those of four years ago.

However, I do see progress and I’m optimistic about the positive impact mHealth will eventually have. Here are three developments that I find encouraging:

1.) Doctor Prescription of Apps. According to PC Magazine(1), doctors are now starting to prescribe mobile apps. Some of the top prescribed apps mentioned included:

• Allergist- four-day pollen forecast

• Cardiologist- Smoking cessation support

• Dentist- tooth brushing education

• Dermatologist- mole tracking

• Obgyn- Pregnancy education and social support

• Pediatrician- activity tracking

• Nutritionist- glucose trending

I can envision additional Apps that enable consumers to take a more proactive approach to their health (e.g., quality of sleep tracking and education).  Are there other Apps that you would consider using if your doctor prescribed it?

2.) Patient Engagement. In the U.S., several of the Meaningful Use capabilities that are being incentivized from the HHS HITECH Act promote mHealth for patient engagement. These include:

• Patient ability to view online, download electronic copies of their health information and clinical summaries

• Patient reminders for preventive/ follow-up care

• Patient-specific education resources

• Electronic messaging to communicate between patients and care providers

• Access to self-management tools

Mobile devices will make it easier to use these capabilities and should result in better informed, engaged consumers. If these capabilities were available now from your Provider, would you take advantage of them?

3.) Proven Results. There have been many trials and implementations with positive outcome indicators as follows:

• 30 percent reduction in medication errors (2)

• 50 percent reduction in wait time (ER, admission, transport) (3)

• 85 percent faster to transact admission, discharge, and transfer changes (4)

Driving costs down will continue to be a high priority for care centers and proven ROI savings from mHealth implementations are important to increase adoption.

The mHealth initiative is moving forward and will inevitably impact our lives and change the way we approach our health.  While the market is not transforming as fast as some anticipated, there is no denying that we are making progress.  I’m encouraged by the developments discussed above and am looking forward to what is to come in the future.

What are your thoughts on mHealth advancement?


2) Wireless at El Camino Hospital, California

3) St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas

4) RFID at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Alabama