How mobile technology can improve the health behaviors of everyday people is the focus of a two-day conference at Stanford University that kicks off on Sunday.
Mobile Health 2010 is the brainchild of B.J. Fogg, director of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. The purpose of the conference, which runs through Tuesday, is to get people together to "foster conversation and relationships that will lead to important collaborations," said Fogg.
The event is bringing more than 100 government agencies, healthcare providers and wireless carriers together to collaborate on short message service (SMS) campaigns. Conference attendees will be discussing the role of mobile technology in providing timely healthcare information on issues such as sexually transmitted and chronic diseases, and during emergency situations and healthcare epidemics.
Text4baby, which sends free health information directly to expectant and new moms' mobile phones, is an example of one of the programs that will be on the docket.
Fogg says the conference aims to bring together individuals who are in charge of the health of everyday people, innovators and vendors that create services for healthcare, and researchers and academics that are studying what is effective mobile behavior.
The event is single-track, says Fogg, and the talks are short, to allow for more Q&A after the panels and foster conversations during breaks.
"Texting has been overlooked for sexier technologies," said Fogg. "People are rushing ahead, but the purpose of the conference is to step back from those bright shiny objects and fancy stuff and look at what people actually have – cell phones."
The best part of the conference, he says, is that "everything we are talking about at the conference isn't futuristic. It's about what people can do immediately."
Registration for the event ends today.