I am here at the mHealth Summit conference in Washington DC and ready for action! And this is an action-packed conference. Sunday night I went to a VIP networking reception presented by HIMSS and sponsored by MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action) and mPowering Frontline Health Workers, with the generous support of Samsung and T-Mobile. At the reception, I met folks from ContinuaHealthCare Alliance, Humetrix (cool app that uses BlueButton info and converts it to easy & organized format for patients), Open Health News (the “Voice of the Open Health Community”), GetWellNetwork (informational videos on in-patient TVs) and Diversinet (Connected and Protected HealthCare).
Yesterday, during the general conference, I listened to the opening remarks and keynote speakers, (Mark Bertolini from Aetna and Harry Totonis from surescripts). The takeaway from the keynotes was that using technological connectivity and patient engagement wil raise quality of care and reduce costs.
Both speakers emphasized the fact that patients must empower themselves and take responsibility for their health and we (healthcare professionals, providers, educators) must help them do this. Restructuring of the healthcare delivery system has to take place and technology and connectivity are the key drivers. Patient portals and information sites such as Aetna’s CarePass are connecting patients and offering information and support so that they can become empowered and take responsibility for their health, reducing ER visits and readmssions. Patient home monitoring can help reduce ER visits and hospitalizations. Monitoring can also be used to encourage behavior change for those at risk for chronic diseases.
In the morning sessions, much was said about patient monitoring and how it can be used to motivate patients to take care of their health. Chanin Wendling from Geisinger Health System gave an excellent presentation and told about using monitoring, surveys, and patient data to help create feedback loops and make care more efficient. Surveys would be sent to patients asking them specific questions about their health, medications, behaviors, etc. Depending on the answers to these surveys, the patients would be followed up or not by a healthcare professional, avoiding unnecessary visits.
During the global health session, it was suggested by one of the panelists that US healthcare could take a lesson from the developing world and rely on community health workers equipped with mobile phones to monitor discharged patients at home to make sure they understood their discharge instructions, medications, etc. Hopefully this would help reduce readmissions and emergency ER visits.
The mHealthSummit Exhibit Hall was downstairs from the conference and it was huge with over 300 exhibitors! It was divided into different pavillions focusing on Gaming, Aging, Start-Ups, Interoperability, Better Health, and Digital Media. Trending were companies focused on patient monitoring, HIPAA secure messaging systems for doctors and patients, wellness and fitness apps, connectivity and interoperability.
A big twitter screen showed the tweetstream of the conference hashtag #MHS12.
On Monday evening, a reception was held in the Exhibit Hall, encouraging conference attendees to visit booths and talk to the exhibitors. mHealthSummit is truly, a well-run and worthwhile conference! Looking forward to the lectures and discussions tomorrow!