Look at our new world health care:
February 2012 Archives
@TechnicalJones: mHealth - Look Now
As you know, I've been a strong proponent for educating people on technology and the positive impact it can have on the quality and cost of health care service.
During their conference this week, the folks at HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), introduced "mHealth From Smartphones to Smart Systems," a guideline for successfully implementing mobile healthcare programs in each area of the industry's ecosystem.
While I haven't had a chance to review the book, the editors offer a preview that makes me think there are some people who actually "get it." Contributing editors come from all walks of life - academia, government, health care, tech and telecom - offering simple examples on designing, deploying and implements programs that utilize current and future mobile technologies to further reform and advance health care.
More importantly, the book highlights the need for education and training on the basics of mHealth for all those who touch the processes and programs put in place. It offers clear understanding of the important role technology plays in enhancing the quality and reducing the costs of healthcare - regardless of how, where and when services are needed - by changing the way health care professionals currently provide services.
"For m-health initiatives to be successful in the US, we quickly need to close the gap of understanding that exists among the players in the government, the mobile sector and the healthcare industry," said Andy Castonguay, Principal Analyst, Handsets and Devices, Informa Telecoms & Media. "This book's diverse contributors provide just such a vehicle to push that national conversation in a meaningful and productive direction."
In addition to the expert advice offered throughout the book, it includes several case studies that outline the opportunities and obstacles for implementing a successful mHealth program, addressing issues on security and privacy, compliance, developing a business model, crafting an mHealth strategy, and of course, the future of mHealth.
The book is available online at HIMSS online. Based on the preview, I expect reading the book will cut through all the hype and put things in proper perspective.
When I look at services like those offered by Calgary Scientific I truly understand the need for the highest quality connections among those serving the health care industry.
And while most wired and in-building wireless connections can support the resolution required to transmit medical images, it is still a waiting game for mobile networks.
This is one of the issues impacting the deployment and adoption of many services that are included in the area of mHealth.
As I have said in the past, fitness apps are great, but those that can offer lower costs and higher quality of health care service, regardless of the area served, are hampered by the airwaves available to deliver such services.
A closer look at Calgary Scientific's website really tells the story. Just read the beginning of this joint news release with AT&T from November 2011. It's important to note the phrase, "in the near future."
You can interchange Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or Metro PCS with AT&T - each carrier is looking to serve the lucrative healthcare market, and each has organizations focused on making deals with companies to serve that market.
But all the deals in the world will not bring these advanced and cost-saving services to a doctor or hospital near you until they each have enough spectrum - the airwaves between a cell site and a mobile device - to deliver consistent high-quality images and other services under guidelines established by the FDA or HIPPA.
There is some good news on the horizon - although it is tempered by the normal political back in forth in Washington, DC. Congress and the FCC are currently at odds on how to best handle an upcoming spectrum auction.
The solution seems simple - open the auction to all parties that have a solid plan in place to utilize the spectrum to best serve customers.
Basically, make it an open auction. The fees gained from the auction can be used to reduce the federal deficit and allow the companies acquiring the airwaves to build out mobile broadband networks that would be second to none in the world.
It would also add jobs and allow companies now stalled in delivering mHealth services to move forward in offering patients the kind of health care services that Americans expect.
Health Care is almost in the air. Let's take a deep breath and hope that 2012 is the year for mHealth.