@mHI: The 12 clusters of mHealth

By Brian Dolan
Share

The mHealth Initiative Spring Seminar here in Boston kicked off today with about 30 attendees from various segments of the mobile health sector, including Google, Orlando Health, AllOne Mobile/Diversinet, Verizon Wireless and Nortel. The mHealth Initiative's President Claudia Tessier kicked off the event by explaining the difference between the mHI and her previous mobile health group, MoHCA.

MoHCA vs. mHI

MoHCA was very focused on convincing the healthcare world that we could make use of wireless in healthcare, Tessier explained. There wasn't the same explosion of mobile applications and devices that there is today, she said. In some ways mHI is the natural successor to MoHCA, but not really, because what mHI is doing is no longer convincing the world that wireless is useful to the healthcare industry. mHI wants to bring these devices, applications and others already in this industry and create a wireless ecosystem for healthcare, Tessier said.

EHR evangelism to PHR on mobile phones

"After having pushed for 25 years, the big achievement is hearing President Obama, Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton saying that EHRs are best thing we can do in healthcare, but implementation is only up to 7 percent or so," mHI Executive Director Peter Waegemann said. "The next step is participatory health, which removes the doctor from the center of care and and, instead, has participation from patients, clinicians, consumers, payers and government. All [players are] included in one community. mHealth is the one community for all that... We're not sure what is going to happen with this... When people put an engine on the horse drawn carriage, they didn't know how it would revolutionize... everything. But we know it will change it for everyone from the school nurse, clinician to chiropractor."

From episodic care to participatory healthcare

Participatory healthcare will move us away from seeing the doctor every three or four weeks [or months or years] for 15 minutes, to a constant communication loop, Waegemann said. We won't have to wait for a long time in the waiting room and then have 15 minutes to remember everything that happened since the last time we went to the doctor, he explained.

The 12 Clusters of Applications in mHealth

Waegemann went on to outline the mHI's perspective on the twelve key clusters for mobile phone applications in healthcare. There's a quick write-up on each cluster below. Does this capture the market opportunity in full? How would you break it down?

1) Patient Communications: Using mobile phones for accessing resources before a visit, including appointment reminders,setting an agenda for the visit, CCR, email reminders, text message reminders, questions for the caregiver and patient education.
2) Access to web-based resources: Typical use of mobiles in healthcare today. Using the phone to access reference resources.
3) Point of Care documentation for physicians and clinicians: Patient history, transmitting data via mobile.
4) Disease Management: Applications that help patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes, dermatology, asthma, smoking cessation, etc.
5) Point of Care Education: Teaching applications, similar to using Twitter to live tweet operations.
6) Professional Communication: Online networks like Twitter used as a place for pharmacists, colleagues, lab technicians, hospital workers and others to consult with each other. In five years these sites will be a primary place for consultation among these colleagues, Waegemann said. 
7) Administrative Applications: Improving efficiency of workflow at the office. Mobile clinical assistants, etc.
8) Financial Apps: Applications that help consumers deal with the financials of healthcare, understanding their insurance, etc.
9) Ambulance/EMS: Connecting the EHR to emergency workers to give them a clearer picture of the patient's history. 
10) Public Health: Using mobiles to track diseases, epidemics, bioterrorism and disseminate information about outbreaks.
11) Research: Clinical research opportunities through data collection from mobiles. 
12) Body Area Network applications: Wearable sensors that collect biometric data and interface with mobile phones to record and transmit.

Flora Lee Mei Yun