mHealth Trials Are Happening, Without the Clinic

Scott Mace, December 4, 2012

HIMSS' mHealth Summit began yesterday in Washington, D.C., and runs through tomorrow. Because it's in the capital, government policymakers are likely to be dazzled by slick vendor presentations and lofty statements about what mobile health technology can do now and will be doing soon.

Meanwhile, outside the Beltway, healthcare providers ponder all the promise and peril of putting sensitive patient information on an ever-proliferating array of gadgets, the vast majority of which merely have garden-variety security, authorization, and authentication controls. After the petabytes of data breached by lost or stolen laptops is subtracted, the good news is that so far, mHealth doesn't seem to account for very many scary stories of health data exposure. But that could change.

Looking over the mHealth Summit agenda, I was struck by the fact that the elephant in the room—government regulation—has no session devoted to it.

There is a clue, however. Another session is titled, "Pushing the Limits of Mobile Health—Can We Have Health and Healthcare Without Doctors?"

Two answers. First, of course we had health, ill health, and healthcare before there were doctors. I'm pretty sure no one wants to go back to that.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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