MRI: We will make Boston the first mHealth city

By Brian Dolan

BostonThe founder of TEPR and CEO of the Medical Records Institute, Peter Waegemann, announced that one of the first pilot projects of his newly formed mHealth Initiative (mHI) is to create an "mHealth City" out of Boston, MA. (This is exciting news for mobihealthnews since we, too, are in Boston.)

"We want to get to a point where everyone in greater Boston has the capability to put personal health information on the mobile phone and use disease management applications--like those being discussed here for diabetes, asthma and hypertension," Waegemann announced at TEPR this week. "And do it in a way that shows the home for health data should be at the hospitals and doctors' practices. There are many students in Boston who may not have a provider, so they can go to Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault and sign up." Waegemann said one of the key goals of the project is to create a population-wide health records locator system so that emergency workers can locate the record when necessary no matter where the most up-to-date record is stored--even if it's on the patient's mobile device.

"We hope to accomplish this by next year," Waegemann said. "The basics will be in place by this summer and the end of 2009."

Waegemann also said he would rather the U.S. spend less on EHR or EMR systems if it would spend more on mHealth initiatives, since EMR spending won't end up helping the country save on costs, while mHealth disease management initiatives will. "If we spent $20 billion to buy people electronic health record (EHR) systems, I think that we might have, reasonably, about $20 million in savings," Waegemann said. "At the same time, that's not a stimulus package, because if we really want to convert hospitals from paper to EMRs, we have to lay a lot of people off. However, if we would spend as a nation on mHealth for disease management, I think we could save, as a nation, potentially a billion dollars."

Sounds like a clear shift in priorities at the Medical Records Institute as it begins to focus more on mHealth and the mHI.