Global Health Forum to shine light on innovation

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund

This year's Global mHealth Forum is going back to school.

The two-day event, in its second year as part of the mHealth Summit 2015, will feature a show-and-tell during its Tuesday evening social event. mHealth developers will be on hand to demonstrate 3D printers, diagnostic apps, drones and a host of technology that's helping to deliver healthcare to the world's developing nations.

[Learn more about the 2015 mHealth Summit.]

"We had a lot of talk about people who were starting to build networks and innovating" at last year's summit, said Pam Riley, part of the mHealth Working Group's advisory board and a senior mHealth advisor for Washington, D.C.-based Abt Associates. "But in many cases these people are coming from low-resource settings where you're lucky to get a text message. They want a more hands-on experience."

The forum drew roughly 500 participants last year, and organizers hope to attract at least that many this year with a program focusing on lessons learned in the field and innovation that can be scaled. They'll be talking a lot about the Ebola outbreak in sub-Saharan Africa, where health information management systems and mobile technology helped to bring the pandemic's deadly run to an end.

"We have a lot of Ebola lessons learned that aren't about the disease," said Riley. "These lessons can be applied to other epidemics" and health crises.

They'll also be talking about using mHealth and population health concepts to connect with younger generations, which often need different messages (and motivations) than their parents and grandparents. And during Wednesday's closing plenary, the spotlight will shine on using mHealth to reach women, who often don't have the same status or access to healthcare resources as their male counterparts.

"We'll learn how mHealth can empower women in developing countries," Riley said.

The summit is comprised of 23 events divided into four "bread and butter topics," said Riley – enabling factors, provider issues, community health and methodology. It kicks into gear at 11 a.m. Tuesday and runs through the closing plenary, from 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Poster presentations will be on display throughout the two days in the Maryland Foyer.

The forum is produced by the mHealth Working Group, a Washington D.C.-based organization comprised of more than 1,600 members in 73 countries, and USAID. 

The 7th annual mHealth Summit, part of the HIMSS Connected Health Conference, takes place Nov. 8-11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside Washington D.C.