Mobile technologies have the potential to improve global health, but there are several challenges facing broad implementation of mobile health IT, according to experts at the annual Connected Health Symposium, InformationWeek reports (Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek, 10/21).
More than 1,000 health care executives, physicians and other stakeholders recently took part in the symposium to discuss the latest technology and concepts driving health care innovation (Wicklund, Healthcare IT News, 10/20).
Discussion on Mobile Health Tools
During the meeting, speakers said that low-cost wireless biometric sensors and cellphone technologies are being developed and tested in African and Asian nations to monitor and screen patients for health conditions.
However, hurdles to adopting the technology remain, including poverty, limited communication infrastructure and inadequate access to health care.
Jessica Haberer -- a research scientist at the center for global health at Massachusetts General Hospital -- said the key is to make mobile health applications as easy to use as possible, in both developing nations and the U.S.
Leo Anthony Celi -- a physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a leader of several global medical informatics projects -- predicted that mobile health tools "will be gone in three years" in the U.S. because patient use will wane (InformationWeek, 10/21).
Additional Discussion Topics
In addition to mobile health, speakers at the symposium discussed health care costs and the newly released final rule on accountable care organizations.
Atul Gawande, a writer and surgeon, said that "the cost of health care is destroying our future" in the U.S. but that new technologies could improve clinical workflow and foster accountability (Healthcare IT News, 10/20).
Daniel Sands, a physician, said that any organization that is not using an electronic health record system is not going to be successful participating in an ACO.
Joseph Kvedar -- founder and director of the Center for Connected Health -- said CMS made the right decision to drop a requirement that 50% of participating ACO physicians achieve meaningful use of electronic health records. He said ACOs will require a significant amount of coordination and that EHRs are just one component of that (Shaw, HealthLeaders Media, 10/24).