Gaining Perspectives on mHealth
Dec 21, 2011, 10:14 AM, Posted by Al Shar
We were equally pleased with RWJF and Pioneer’s presence at the meeting – in fact, I’d say the meeting was a resounding success from our perspective.
Pioneer grantees Ben Sawyer and Debra Lieberman were both on panels featuring their work in health games and mobile technology. Deborah Estrin and Ida Sim announced the launch of Open mHealth, which is supported with funding from RWJF’s Pioneer Portfolio. And a session focused on this summer's mHealth Evidence meeting that was conceived of and co-sponsored by Pioneer.
Our Public Health Portfolio was also there looking for interesting perspectives on how mHealth could be deployed by public health departments to address a variety of health issues.
And finally, I was lucky enough to moderate a special session on a topic of keen interest to me and the portfolio.
“What I Really Need from mHealth: Five Perspectives on Value” featured a great cast of panelists including Robert Jarrin, senior director of Government Affairs for Qualcomm; Carol McCall, chief strategy officer at GNS Healthcare; Anmol Madan, founder of Ginger.io and visiting researcher at MIT Media Lab; and Richard Katz, director of cardiology at George Washington University Hospital.
Our session was structured around an imaginary mobile health application. The panelists discussed the value of the application and how to demonstrate that value from the point of view of the individual, provider, various payers, regulators and researchers. This generated a fascinating conversation in which participants spoke from both a professional and personal perspective. Toward the end, we opened the discussion up to the attendees, which led to an informative and engaging discussion that will hopefully extend far beyond the session. The various perspectives are not completely aligned but yield something quite important when they do come together.
But wait, as they say on TV, there’s more! In addition to our panelists, we brought together about a dozen thought leaders, including representatives from organizations like NIH, Google, GNS Healthcare and the National Science Foundation, for a series of lively discussions about the future of mHealth and how to build value for all the players in the ecosystem. There was no lack of good ideas or strongly held opinions, and more questions were raised than answers offered. However, at the end of the night, we could all see light at the end of the tunnel. And that light came from a greater understanding of the value others saw in mHealth. From this newly fashioned broader vision, I’m hopeful we all left with a better sense of the way forward and with new ideas on how we could each play a role.
I look forward to sharing more of what we learned and what this might mean for our investments in mHealth moving forward – and hearing your thoughts as well.
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.