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July 30, 2010

World Congress Holds Leadership Summit on Mobile Health Medical Devices


Bringing together experts in wireless health, remote patient monitoring, and consumer health and wellness, the Second Annual World Congress Leadership Summit on mHealth kicked off Thursday in Boston with a full day of speakers, workshops, and panel discussions. 

After the chairperson’s welcome speech by Pramod Gaur of UnitedHealth Group, the opening keynote address was given by Joe Smith, chief medical and science officer of West Wireless Health Institute (News - Alert).

Dr. Smith discussed the impending “collision” between the escalating health care costs and limited resources, driven by factors such as unsustainable spending on chronic disease, fewer physicians, and the aging of the population. In exploring how wireless medical technology and other mHealth innovation could address these problems, he emphasized the importance of keeping costs low and finding infrastructure-independent health care solutions.

A panel discussion on mhealth and clinical decision support featured moderator Jack Beaudoin of Healthcare IT News, Joseph Kvedar of Center for Connected Health, Alexander Nason of Johns Hopkins Medicine Interactive, and Katherine Clark of Englewood Hospital Home Health and Hospice Services. The panelists shared their experiences with remote patient monitoring and other mobile health initiatives, discussing challenges along the way. As Joseph Kvedar explained at the beginning of his talk, much of the discussion’s emphasis was on “patient decision support” rather than “clinical decision support,” in that providing information to patients and drawing them into their own healthcare management proved to be a powerful means to improve outcomes.

Another panel discussion provided an analyst perspective on the mobile health market, with speakers Harry Wang of Park Associates (News - Alert), Monique Levy of Manhattan Research and moderator Brian Dolan of MobiHealthNews. Topics included growing smart phone use by physicians and patients and the implications for the future of health care.

Other speakers included Kevin Riley from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Fl., who discussed the necessity of focusing on “retail health” and the role mobile technology can play in reaching out to consumers. Sandra Elliot from Meridian Health discussed a successful mHealth initiative involving remote patient monitoring, telephone support and a personal health network which reduced hospital readmission rates in congestive heart failure patients. Nardo Manaloto from Kaiser Permanente talked about the need for a unified messaging and communications approach in patient communications.

There was also a pre-summit workshop on consumer engagement through new media, including discussion of the mobile phone as a health/fitness tool, social media, gaming, and virtual worlds.

The summit continues through Friday, July 30, with more speakers and panels to come.


Ms. Graham is a writer and editor with a current focus on health and wellness. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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