Friday, September 25, 2009

mHealth Initiative West Coast Seminar

by Karen Coppock

The mHealth Initiative hosted a very interesting West Coast Seminar on How New Communication Patterns Will Change Healthcare in San Francisco last Friday.

Interesting tidbits from the various speakers throughout the day:
  • EMTs in San Diego spearheaded the introduction of a mobile health application that would allow them to begin to administer treatment and access patient records (i.e., allergies to medications, etc.) on the way to the emergency room.
  • The European Unions ultra-strict privacy and medical-oriented regulations make mHealth almost impossible in Europe....shame as Europe is so much more advanced than the US in terms of adopting text messaging.
  • Walmart and CVS are not competing (successfully) for primary care physicians. One doctor mentioned that if hospitals alienate primary care doctors by requiring that they work after hours to answer patient emails and SMS queries, that they may jump to Walmart and CVS - reasonable working hours, decent competitive threat.
  • Doctors categorically DO NOT want patients to send them SMS or email them directly - the doctors fear that they may not receive the message until it is too late and the patient has experienced a "negative event" (e.g., landed in the ER room or died). Doctors prefer for these communications to occur at the practice/group-level where a timely response can be better assured. Not so much a legal liability issue as a ethical one for them. They DO want to communicate amongst themselves, using any and all communication modes possible (e.g., voice, email, IM, video)
  • One mega provider's virtual care data (2008): 24 million eVisits, 6 million secure emails, 6 million electronic prescription refills and 17 million electronic transmissions of lab results. In their SMS trials they found that after stating their name (~20 characters) and a mandatory opt out statement (~25 characters), they only had ~120 characters left in their SMS message - not much to work with
Was a great event - slides for the speakers - including the Vital Wave Consulting slides I presented on SMS-based mHealth applications in emerging markets - will be posted on their website soon - look for them here.

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