Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mobile Health 2010 - Day 2

by Karen Coppock

Day two of the Mobile Health 2010 conference was even more action packed than day one...from discussing FrontlineSMS Medic's use of mobile phones to find survivors (and then rebuild the country) after the earthquake in Haiti to the low-hanging fruit application area (drug compliance).

Some cold water was poured over the idea of mHealth by a few industry players and VCs who said things such as "this isn't a business" and "we are a $20+ billion dollar business, will your mHealth innovation make a difference in my revenues - unlikely." Yet some organizations, BabyCenter being an excellent example, are reaching scale and likely profitability. BabyCenter is used by nearly half of all pregnant women in the US and has expanded to serve pregnant women and young mothers in 22 countries. BabyCenter's business model is threefold: advertising revenue, premium paid services and patient reimbursement. In countries such as India, BabyCenter content is often delivered via mobile phones as the percent of the population that owns a PC is very small. BabyCenter's VP of International astutely noted that advertising is still a viable model in India as a mobile phone purchase is the first step into the middle class and hence mobile-phone owners are a compelling market for advertisers.

In the final panel, Dave Marvit of Fujitsu Labs of America nicely summarized three parting thoughts:
  1. Don't forget sensors when thinking about mHealth 
  2. It's not about the data, it's about knowledge or actionable information
  3. Focus more on health and less on technology
Thank you BJ Fogg and all of the conference speakers/participants - was an excellent two days.....however, there is still a lot more work to do to transform interesting mHealth pilots into viable businesses with proven health outcomes.

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