HIMSS11: Mobile takes its place on health IT scene

By Neil Versel
04:35 am
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Neil VerselSo many mobile healthcare events, so little time.

A week ago, I was in Washington, D.C., for the release of a pilot study of a mobile app meant to improve medication compliance among Medicaid patients with hypertension. Not a huge deal, perhaps, but I made the most of my trip.

For one thing, I heard Kerry McDermott, healthcare director in the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, say that the new HHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation was exploring ways to create an m-health research program.

I also learned about a text-based women’s health service in the same vein as the well-publicized Text4Baby. The GW Cancer Institute at the George Washington University Medical Center has teamed up with the Avon Foundation for Women in a program called Text4BSE, offering text reminders for women to conduct monthly breast self-exams. Text “BSE” to 64274 to enroll. The program also provides free mammograms for women who qualify.

This week, the worldwide mobile communications industry is holding its annual confab over in Barcelona, Spain. Once again, there’s a healthcare track at the Mobile World Congress, and once again, my budget—remember, I’m an independent contractor—doesn’t allow me to jet off to Barcelona.

I will, however, be in Orlando, Fla., next week for the 2011 HIMSS conference. MobiHealthNews principals Brian Dolan and Joe Maillie also are going, and Brian is presenting on Monday morning. (Vendors, please no more meeting requests. My schedule is full. Thanks.)

As the largest health IT gathering of the year—attendance could top 30,000 this year for the first time—the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in many ways has to be all things to all people. And that includes accommodating the growing number of people interested in mobile and wireless healthcare technologies.

Last year in Atlanta, HIMSS10 kicked off with a keynote address from Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. HIMSS11 won’t feature anyone from the wireless industry so prominently. While the agenda suggests mobile is here to stay, you may have to cough up a few extra bucks to take part.

Among the pre-conference events on Sunday is a full-day (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) RFID symposium. Another Sunday happening is the Privacy and Security Workshop (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), that will include much discussion of how to safeguard data on portable devices.

There’s a separate registration fee for both of those, as there is for HIT X.0: Beyond the Edge, a series of sessions on cutting-edge healthcare technologies. In addition to Brian’s presentation, you may be interested in these X.0 topics:

  • The Future of Home Care Today (Wednesday, 1-2 p.m), featuring Chuck Parker, executive director of the Continua Health Alliance.
  • Coming to Your Life Tomorrow: Today’s Military Technology (Thursday, 10-11 a.m.). Jeanette Rausche, technical director of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, will discuss the Army’s use of mobile messaging for case management of wounded warriors.

The regular HIMSS conference isn’t all that heavy on mobile and wireless healthcare, but there are a couple of relevant sessions for no additional charge:

Most of the mobile action, so to speak, will be in the massive exhibit hall. Booth 7381 will house the RFID/RTLS Showcase, and more than 200 of the 900 or so vendors say they offer mobile applications. If that doesn’t say mobile healthcare has arrived on the health IT scene, I don’t know what does.

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