mHealth: a salmagundi of items

Overloaded with Horizon2020 proposal adjudication and conference management (including the first DHACA members’ day on 11th July), this editor has been unable to do much Telehealth & Telecare Aware blogging. However the interesting items have continued to attract my attention and Prof Mike short (especially), Alex Wyke and Nicholas Robinson have continued to add further to the pile (huge thanks to all). So much seems worth highlighting: where to start? Perhaps with the 18 factors to make telemedicine a success, enumerated by the EU-funded Momentum project. Telecare Aware readers will be unsurprised by all 18, which look pretty basic. However many will notice obvious absences, such as the need to adduce evidence of the success of the intervention. Gluttons for punishment will find much more in the Momentum presentations in the eHealth Forum session.

In similar vein, if I had time, a potential “What the Blue Blazes” award would go to the recent Deloitte review of mHealth which includes the startling comment that “what remains to be firmly established is proven evidence of mobile’s sustainable value to the health care industry”. Really? Getting the ‘bad’ out of the way first, an otherwise completely unrelated item is the use of mobile games to promote junk food – what you might call mUnhealth, the diametric opposite of using games to encourage a healthier lifestyle. This Telegraph story spills the beans on a very unpleasant use of technology and starts an investigation.

Returning to the EU, there is what looks to be an excellent webinar on mHealth for people to log in to on. Entitled Ensuring the safety of health and well-being apps”, it is on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 from 17.30 – 18.30 CEST. The line line-up includes our very own Alex Wyke of PatientView and myhealthapps fame (see also below).

Another EU news item is just to remind everyone that the Green Paper consultation period ends on 3rd July. Many organisations are preparing responses, including this editor’s own, DHACA. We met on Tuesday 27th May and will be preparing a  final draft for members to check out on the website in mid June. Membership remains free. There is a very short video on the mHealth consultation from Nelly Kroes – watch those eyebrows go!

Alex Wyke and I will also be presenting on the topic at the next Health Technology Forum meeting kindly hosted by Baker Botts on the evening of 18th June, at which Mike Clark will in addition be giving one of his outstanding talks summarising recent developments in the NHS, and there’ll be some short tech pitches too – there are still just a few places left for this free event, which includes lengthy networking.

Alex has also been blogging on the PatientView report recently produced on “The corporate reputation of the medical device industry – from the patient perspective”

Some readers may have been a tad concerned by recent tentative findings linking mobile phone usage to brain cancers – well Cancer Research UK does a truly brilliant job of taking apart the statistics and saying why you shouldn’t be overly concerned.

Getting ever better this editor spent a morning at a Telefonica-arranged event entitled “Accessibility & Inclusion in the Mobile World” introducing their report entitled “Tapping into the untapped digital billion“. The event featured some extraordinarily good presentations by experts in successfully managing disabilities. Chris Lewis’s presentation began with the assertion that one billion people in the world have a disability that affects their access to digital technology. He went on to explain that “the better annotated applications, content and web sites become, the easier they are for so-called ‘normal’ people to navigate with the range of tools available.” He then went on to describe the many ways in which technology is improving accessibility. A video of an interview with Chris is here.

Highlight of the morning though for me was the presentation by Caroline Casey from Kanchi. Kanchi is a multi-award winning social enterprise that works to change mindsets and behaviours around disability. Caroline made an extremely strong case that “disability is the new green”. In short she suggested, we need to use all the strategies and tactics of the very successful environmental movement to keep making the case for improving access by those 1 billion people. A hugely impressive presentation.

Also truly excellent were presentations by InsaneLogic, an organisation dedicated to building affordable communication tools that help and empower people with a speech, language or communication need (flagship product, MyChoicePad is available to download for iOS and Android), and Lingoing, an organisation that delivers sign language interpretation using remotely using mobile technology, particularly to help in emergency situations, such as in A&E when a doctor needs quickly to understand a medical history in order to determine correct treatment and cannot wait for an interpreter to be summoned.

Clearly this is an area of particular importance to the health and social care sector, as illness and disability can be linked, so Telefonica are to be congratulated on their focus on this area; my only sadness was that there were relatively few people there to hear the powerful presentations.

Regular readers may recall that this editor is a particular fan of the ability to have remote consultations. In the UK, according to the sunday Times progress continues, however in the US, there has been what lloks like a breakthrough, with mobile consultations now being offered in 44 states, by Wellpoint.

Other mHealth-related recent items worth mentioning include:

Finally, to “mobile” statistics. There are some interesting downloads available from FirstPartner on wearables and mobile payments. (As long as you can cope with the watermark, they are free to download). There is also all you could possibly want to know about worldwide mobile usage in the 2014 Ericsson Mobility Report which really does do a truly excellent job of data presentation. GSMA latest stats are here. Their latest annual report includes the assertion that by 2017, mobile healthcare can help cut healthcare costs in OECD countries by $400bn. Powerful stuff.

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