Will the mHealth Lollapalooza move us forward

Will the mHealth Lollapalooza move us forward

Summary: The folks at the the UN Foundation's mHealth Alliance are thrilled at what is happening at their annual meeting this week in Washington, D.C.


The folks at the the UN Foundation's mHealth Alliance are thrilled at what is happening at their annual meeting this week in Washington, D.C.

Celebrities like Ted Turner and Bill Gates have addressed a throng estimated at 2,700, triple last year's number.

Norway and HP have both announced million dollar contributions. The Department of Health and Human Services announced a program called Text4Health.

Analysts are comparing it with the Lollapalooza festivals, big rock shows that brought in a lot of excitement and money.

The comparison may be unfortunate. Lollapalooza itself has had an up-and-down history. It began in 1991, then died in 1997, and failed twice more as a tour, before being re-defined as a Chicago-only festival in 2005.

On the other hand, the comparison may be apt. Chicago is, among other things, the headquarters town for American medicine. Today's excitement could easily flame out, as alternative rock did in the late 1990s.

Clive Smith is the mHealth Alliance's director of global operations, and told me today that won't happen. "It's getting ready to explode," he said, in a good way.

That's because, especially in the developing world, the technology for this is widely available. "There are many applications that are text or voice based," that run on old "feature phones" (as opposed to "smart phones" like the iPhone and Android.)

Innovations developed for the smart phone consumer market can quickly filter down to the mass global feature phone market, Smith said. "There will be a rapid migration," he predicted.

The group seems well plugged-in to the global philanthropic mainstream. Its board is headed by a venture capitalist, with a philanthropist and two cell phone executives joining him. The staff is headed by David Aylward, a successful Washington consultant.

But it's today's events, mostly held out of public view, that will mainly tell the tale here. These focus on problems with security, privacy and regulation, which have stymied the American adoption of mHealth.

What happened, as I told Smith, is that consumer products outfits like Apple or Nike might launch something cool in the consumer market, but serious medical applications go through a regulatory process, both medical and insurance, which leaves their sales channels with outdated, primitive solutions that cost 100 times more than what you can find on the street.

"The technical solutions have outstripped the regulatory practice." he admitted.

"Clearly there are many specialized interest groups that have concerns about how this will work, which is one reason so much innovation is happening elsewhere. In other countries mobile is the difference between health care and no health care."

The expectation is that clinical studies now coming forward and interest from mainstream IT vendors like HP will break down these barriers.

That's the expectation. Or is it more like a hope?

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Android, Smartphones, Privacy, Mobile OS, iPhone, Health, Hardware, Apple, Start-Ups

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  • RE: Will the mHealth Lollapalooza move us forward

    You make some good points, it is different here in the US and 2 of my big concerns are privacy and one item you left out, marketing. It makes your head spin as many consumer applications are tied to 3rd parties who collect and some sell the data, so you have to read the fine print here and ask where your data is stored and who has access.

    Back in 2007 I saw Mundie from Microsoft with an application with a cell phone for developing countries that was for people who could not read and it uses images to connect to doctors, nurses, etc. for help and what we have here is far cry, but that application like you mentioned is the difference between care and no care in other places.

    I have said myself on a few occasions, would somebody start aggregating the healthcare apps out there? In other words a bigger application that can show some value that the consumer can relate to as we have a glut of them. As far as applications texting, we are to the point where that is boring now as most all do that and I can do it myself in mobile Outlook if I just need reminders, but the difference is what else the program does besides remind and again who has access to that data and I want to know if they are selling it too. Some of this can be disruptive too and UCLA has a group up there working on participatory sensing. I have a busy phone and getting more text messages would drive me nuts, so no value for me; however someone without a busy phone might like it.

    I just think we are way too fragmented and when you have too much going on, it's like walking into a store with too many choices, you walk out with zero. I like my little idea about having the ability to use a cell phone to scan and use it to check and find FDA recalls as that accomplishes a couple things, instant value and it gets the consumers in the habit of using programs on a cell phone and it would grow from there. Barcoding is the way of the future and it's easier than making a phone on the devices so again, the attention getter and instant value. I did my own post about it to include this pretty exotic application and device, a blue tooth inhaler complete with a full data trail and the video suggests your insurance company could see all of this. Well I wrote up my opinion on that end of the stick as far as a potential compliance issue too:) You have to keep in mind these folks want all the data they can get as it means money or making money. I think we have too much innovation without the appropriate amount of collaboration with everyone trying to build the better mouse trap in short and we get what have out there today, and that seems to spread even beyond just mobile and touches all areas of software with healthcare.

    • RE: Will the mHealth Lollapalooza move us forward

      @MedicalQuack I think you're right and that Microsoft may indeed be a big player. Let me make the wild prediction its success with the XBox and desire to build medical network applications could move it to buy Verizon or AT&T in the next few years.
  • Service Quality and Trustworthiness of mHealth Platforms

    Major challenges of mHealth platforms in terms of service quality and trustworthiness have been articulated in the following papers .<br><br>1. Service quality of mHealth platforms: Development and Validation of a Hierarchical Model using PLS<br><br><a href="http://www.springerlink.com/content/b34782112400k800/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.springerlink.com/content/b34782112400k800/</a><br><br>2. Trustworthiness in mHealth information services: An assessment of a hierarchical model with mediating and moderating effects using PLS<br><br><a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asi.21442/full" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asi.21442/full</a>
    • mHealth : An Ultimate Platform to Serve the Unserved

      This is an excellent review paper.<br><br><a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20938579" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20938579</a>
  • Major concern is awareness

    I think the biggest concern in awareness and VESAG, a company specialized in the mHealth solutions has created blogs, articles and news paper articles and seminars at senior care centers to educate senior citizens about the mHealth services. visit <a href="http://mhealth.vesag.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://mhealth.vesag.com</a> and http://www.vesag.com to know in detail.