Connected Health Technologies Gaining Traction in Medical Field

by Jennifer Kent | Jul. 25, 2014

This week, I had the opportunity to attend mHealth + Telehealth World Congress in Boston. The three-day conference focuses on health system and health payer strategies for incorporating mobile and telemedicine technologies to improve care outcomes and drive operational efficiencies.   As my third consecutive year attending this event, the conference served as a nice benchmark for progress in the digital health initiatives among conference attendees, which are overwhelmingly care providers, along with a handful of tech vendors and insurers.

One significant change this year was the merging of the previously-separate mHealth and Telehealth tracks into a single track, with no breakout sessions.   In a sense, this parallels what is happening in the market, where the dividing lines between “mhealth” and “telehealth” are increasingly arbitrary. This view was shared by speaker Dr. Sarah Pletcher, Medical Director for the Center of Telehealth at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  As a health IT solution buyer, Dr. Pletcher noted that she has seen a shift take place among industry vendors. Whereas telemedicine and digital health vendors previously offered single-function easily-categorized solutions, Dr. Pletcher now selects between more comprehensive solutions that attempt to tackle multiple care and operational needs.

I was also struck by the number of speakers who offered case studies of remote health management and mobile work flow initiatives that are fully integrated in their care delivery systems, no longer in the trial phase. Health systems are no longer waiting for their EMR vendors to provide cutting-edge data solutions that play well with other technologies, and instead are assembling the teams and technologies needed to extend access to care, improve care outcomes, and even cut costs.

Given the momentum in the digital health industry, I am even more excited about Parks Associates' upcoming Connected Health Summit in San Diego, September 4th and 5th. Whereas mHealth + Telehealth World is valuable in its dedicated focus on care providers, Parks Associates’ Connected Health Summit expands this perspective to the entire Connected Health value chain, including  health systems, payors, wireless carriers, technology vendors, and retailers, among others. Content covered is also wider-ranging. The first day of the event focuses on connected health technologies and partnerships, while the second day is devoted to consumer engagement and change.  I am particularly interested to hear leading companies, like Kaiser, Asscension Health, Humana, Walgreens, and Verizon, discuss how they take the consumer perspective into consideration when building their solutions. Check out the agenda, hope to see you in San Diego!

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