mHealth: Health where you live, work, and play

by Carol Torgan, Ph.D. on September 20, 2010

Man with mobile phone at beach with people and dogs in background

“More than 99.95% of our time is spent outside of clinics and hospitals. Health is where you live, work, and play.”  – John Mattison, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO), Kaiser Permanente Southern California

The health care space was redefined recently at a pair of meetings that brought together a wonderful mix of industry, tech, and health care thought-leaders: Healthcamp San Diego and the 2nd mHealth Networking Conference, put on by the mHealth Initiative Inc.

Health care no longer only takes place with us seated on a sheet of white tissue paper in a room that features magazines from 2007. The health care space now comprises individuals monitoring their vitals in their living rooms and client-provider conversations taking place via email and phone. Health care is becoming less about waiting rooms, hospital gowns and illness, and more about family, backyards and, um, health.

Health care is increasingly being recognized as a series of small micro-choices (think salad bars, grocery store aisles, and the classic elevator vs. stairwell combo) that take place every day where we live, work, and play.

This is an extremely important distinction because:

  • the focus is on health and not illness ~ it’s wellness driven,
  • the focus on the individual and not medical providers ~ it’s consumer driven.

And by our side 24/7 is a device that is available to help us make micro-decisions, converse with our health care team, track our vitals, and provide relevant health information. This is the essence of mobile health – the right information, in the right place, at the right time. The individual is at the center of their own health.

“You used to bring the patient to the doctor. Now you take the doctor, hospital, and entire healthcare ecosystem to the patient.”
- Healthcare Unwired, PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute, Sept 2010

More coverage of the meetings:

PricewaterhouseCoopers Report and coverage

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Tara Cousineau, PhD September 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Even thought technology may shift how one can access health, be urged to take some action, or connect with strangers who have similar interests or health challenges, it will take a village – real people and real interactions – to change the current “illness” paradigm to one of empowerment and engagement. Let’s hope the next decade, or the next generation – can tip the balance.

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