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Mobile Health Hits the Hill

Staying connected to friends, family and work is made easier with a mobile device… so why not your doctor? Advancing collaboration between various stakeholder groups on the use of wireless technology to improve health outcomes was the three-day topic in DC at the mHealth Summit 2012 held earlier this month. While Wireless Reach had a booth in the Qualcomm Life Pavilion, we were also fortunate to share some of our mHealth success stories on three different panels.

Throughout the Summit, Wireless Reach was onsite educating attendees about the various mHealth projects including Care Beyond Walls and Wires, which uses wireless broadband tools such as smartphones and 3G technology to allow in-home daily monitoring as well as the ability to collect data remotely  for patients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). We also highlighted our China Wireless Heart Health and our Mobile Health Information System in South Africa projects, which are featured on the Wireless Reach website.

During the December 4 panel  “Partnering for Success: Public Private Partnerships for mHealth,“ Mike McKay, a technology specialist for the Research Computing Division at RTI International, shared how Wireless Reach is working with various stakeholders through a multi-sector partnership called Wireless Access for Health (WAH) in the Philippines. This project is designed to improve health care with Qualcomm technology by reducing the time required for monthly reporting and by improving access to accurate and relevant patient information for clinicians and decision makers in 26 health clinics in the Philippines. Since the project began in July 2009, WAH partners have successfully expanded the program from four rural health units to 34 health clinics in the Tarlac Province. The project makes Tarlac the first province in the country to have all its public health centers wirelessly interconnected to run its health information system.

On the December 5 mHealth for Frontline Health Workers panel, my colleague Robert Jarrin, senior director of Government Affairs, participated in a discussion on Wireless Reach’s newly formed collaboration with USAID and the mHealth Alliance called mPowering Frontline Health Workers, designed to improve child health by accelerating the use of mobile technology by millions of health workers around the world.

Concurrently, Sonia Contreras, senior health advisor for the International Community Foundation represented the Dulce Wireless Tijuana project on a separate panel “Igniting Change: Mobile Innovations for Global Health.” Dulce Wireless Tijuana is a bi-national, multi-sector study that examines how the chronic care model, together with 3G wireless Internet access, can be used in diabetes management to improve patient care for marginalized communities.

When I attended my first mHealth Summit in 2010, there were about 100 exhibitors and 2,500 attendees; this year’s summit grew in size to 400 exhibitors and 4,500 attendees. This growth is only a small testament to the energy and enthusiasm behind the power of mobile to fundamentally change the way health care is experienced.

Although the conference is over, the conversation is just beginning. I recommend reading through some of the interesting snippets highlighted on Twitter using the hashtag #mhs12 and share information with us by tweeting to @Qualcomm_GA. You can also access videos, animations and other mHealth content from mHealth in TechChange’s Media Library.

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