Last week, a 44-year-old blonde from Texas was bustling about a convention hall at Caesars Palace. She had organized a convention in a little over 10 weeks and everything was working.
“We knew we wanted to establish a Mobile Health Expo in the Spring,” said convention organizer Wendy Thomas, “but this field is moving so fast, I thought we should get a stake in the ground earlier than that. We needed to create a brand and a presence. We placed our first ad for a Fall Expo August 1 and even on short notice, we were able to attract a number of exhibitors and 300 quality attendees. I’m very happy.”
What is Mobile Health? It is the merging of technology and medical care to bring increased efficiency and new revenue streams to the medical community. Mobile health includes everything from programs allowing physicians to follow a diabetic patient’s daily glucose readings by automatic updates through a mobile phone to mobile labs powered by solar energy bringing diagnostic tests to areas of the world without electricity. Hand-held mobile wallets can take payment for care outside a hospital or doctor’s office, and inside a hospital, a nurse with an antimicrobial mobile computer can use multiple bar codes to make certain the right prescription and right dosage is given to the right patient with patient records updated automatically.
Thomas has spent her career in the health care industry from lab technician to CEO of her own consulting company. Interested in how technology can bring efficiency to health care, she attended medical conventions throughout the world to learn the latest in e-health. “Those meetings of 50,000 people might have 30 exhibitors whose products focused on mobile health issues,” she said. “ I wanted to have a place where the only subject was mobile health. I’m a person who can see things before other people get there, and mobile health is our future. ”
One of the features of the Mobile Health Expo exhibit space was a group of posters advertising just some of the health “apps” for smart phones such as the iPhone: mobile drug reference information, mobile files for doctors’ personal medical notes, symptom checking programs, pregnancy care communication for expecting parents and their doctors, a program for tracking pain, triggers and treatments, advice medical radio and on and on.
In Denmark, patients can join a health care plan whereby a patient using a smart phone can choose to communicate with any doctor in the system, submit information about symptoms or photographs and get care recommendatons even if never visiting a doctor’s office in person.
Three days of presentations brought 16 keynote speakers and 60 additional general sessions to Las Vegas. Among the keynoters were speakers from Sprint, T Mobile, AT&T, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of New Mexico. “I was very proud of our educational lineup,” says Thomas.
“We have already gotten our RFPs back for the Spring convention,” Thomas continues, “and we’ll be looking at those starting next week. Yes, we like Las Vegas as a location because it can attract an international audience. We expect to double our size next Spring and double it again after that.”