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Digital Health, Mobile Health, mHealth, etc Is Just Health?

Last week, the big news in the world of healthcare IT was that HIMSS acquired Health 2.0. You can check out the great writeup of the acquisition by Andy Oram. This acquisition was interesting since Health 2.0 had largely tried to be the anti-HIMSS for so long. There were others doing so as well like the mHealth Summitt and the Connected Health Conference, but those have all been acquired by HIMSS as well.

It’s no surprise that running a conference focused on startup companies doing innovative things in healthcare is a hard business. Startup companies have no money and so they can’t spend on oversized booths like the large vendors at HIMSS do. Indu and Matthew did what they could with Health 2.0, but it’s a challenging business. It will be interesting to see how things go under the HIMSS umbrella.

I know that Matthew Holt who started Health 2.0 has been beating the drum for a long time that there’s no such thing as mobile health or mHealth or Digital Health. There’s just healthcare. So, in some ways it makes sense for something like Health 2.0 to be part of a healthcare IT organization like HIMSS.

For the most part, I agree with Matthew on there not being a difference. However, I think that what this misses is that within the healthcare IT world there are companies at different stages of development. I divide these companies into 3 categories: Large Enterprise Companies, Middle Tier Companies, and Startup Companies. We could slice and dice some more, but I think this is a good framework for thinking about the industry.

Whether you liked the description of digital health or mobile health or mHealth, those terms came to represent what most people would consider startup healthcare IT companies. That’s what Health 2.0 and a few other conferences came to represent. Despite many efforts on their part to expand in other ways, HIMSS has largely come to represent the large enterprise companies. They’ve done so in a really fantastic way, but these large enterprise companies kind of suck the wind out of events like the HIMSS Annual conference.

What’s interesting to me is that the middle tier healthcare IT companies haven’t really had a place to go. Sure, they might go to HIMSS, but they generally do smaller booths and they go to show they’re a player in the space versus going to attract customers and do business deals. Same goes for Health 2.0. They might attend Health 2.0 to see what’s happening in the market, but it’s not a great event for their businesses generally either.

Along those same lines, I think that most middle tier hospitals and healthcare organizations get left out as well. They’re too small to be able to be the pilot site for a startup company and they get lost at an event like HIMSS. These middle tier healthcare organizations are interesting because they have money to spend if they can find something that works. However, they don’t have the bandwidth to be someone’s innovation center for something that might work.

No doubt, digital health is just becoming part of the overall healthcare system. However, the division between size of companies and the maturity of their products is not going to change. Not to mention the needs of the various sized healthcare organizations. It will be interesting to see what happens to Health 2.0 under HIMSS and how the market continues to evolve to better serve its stakeholders.

April 26, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A Few Compelling Health 2.0 Tweets

This week the Health 2.0 Conference has been happening in Silicon Valley. The #health2con twitter stream has been extremely active if you want to hear what’s being said at the conference. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from the stream and my thoughts on them.


This is a scary idea to consider, but Francois is right about the cost of healthcare. So far I have seen little that’s working to drive the cost of healthcare down. Are feedback loops the right answer? I’m not sure, but I do think information on the costs is part of the answer.


I hope mobile health and sensors can go deeper than this. Although, I was probably drawn to the tweet because when I was younger I was hugging a girl when she asked, “Why is your heart beating so fast?” I guess she was way ahead of the sensor game.


Is this scary or exciting? I’d probably say 5 years, but otherwise agree.


Reminds me of when Farzad Mostashari asked, “Can Healthcare ‘Step on a Scale’ Today?” Data helps us realize reality.


Reminds me of the off stated, correlation does not equal causation.


Always a great reminder of what should really be the focus of healthcare: the patient.

October 2, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Axial’s Care Transition Suite Wins “Ensuring Safe Transitions from Hospital to Home” Mobile App Challenge

In a recent online discussion I had concerning an article I recently wrote, the point was raised that for an app or device to be successful it must fulfill a need.  While I don’t think that it is absolutely essential to success, it certainly makes the path to success much more realistic.

Filling a need is exactly what the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ competition was all about.  According to the press release the competition “invited healthcare application developers around the country to devise an intuitive application that dealt with the very real problem of moving a patient into and out of a hospital safely and efficiently.”

Here are some of the highlights from the press release, as well as from Fierce Mobile Healthcare’s interview with Jean-Luc Neptune, senior VP of Health 2.0, which ran the challenge for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Axial’s Care Transition Suite puts tablet, laptop and mobile phone technology to work to better ensure that patient information flows automatically between care settings. Axial also creates an interactive care plan that enables patients of all ages to take control of their aftercare. Axial’s solution reduces readmissions, increases patient satisfaction, and saves time and money across the healthcare delivery network. Vital patient information is often lost in care provider hand-offs – gaps that compromise quality of care and costs.

I think just about everyone has been to see a doctor and felt like they told ten different people the exact same information.  It is also highly likely that information could be inaccurately transferred as it passes from caregiver to caregiver.  If that critical information can be more accurately and quickly handled then care will inevitably improve.
“Two thirds of patients can neither describe their diagnosis or state the purpose of their medications,” said Joanne Rohde, CEO, Axial Exchange, Inc. “Our application not only engages patients, but also ensures that information flows to all caregivers in a way that benefits health systems, payors, and patients.”
Again, if information can be more accurate and efficient, we all benefit.
The suite is essentially a third-layer product that pulls data from inpatient, ER, pharmacy, testing and other systems to create central summaries that follow patients “from ambulance through inpatient and post-discharge,” Neptune says. For example, EMS teams input patient data during transport and that data is pushed to a care summary for ER physicians ahead of the patient’s arrival at the hospital. Post-discharge summaries are automatically generated and sent to the patient’s physician and the patient’s own smartphone or tablet, according to company officials.
This is clearly a simplification of what this product offers, but isn’t that exactly what they are shooting for?  Maybe the real question is why the process has become so complicated in the first place, but that is likely a topic for a whole different article.
I read about app competitions all of the time, but for some reason never see the results.  It is nice to see that some of these competitions actually bear results, and in this case it seems like a quality product.  The competition was won with a prototype so it will be interesting to see how the development progresses in the future.

January 9, 2012 I Written By

Unbelievably Long Wireless Health (mHealth) Conference List

The other day I just happened across this incredibly long (and impressive) list of mobile health related conferences and events that are happening all around the world.

I’d been joking with people recently that if you wanted to go to a mobile health or mHealth related conference every week of the year, you could. Looking at that list, I wasn’t exaggerating very much at all. That’s seriously unbelievable.

The conference on the wish that I’d most like to go to is EuroMedtech 2011 May 16-17 in Torino, Italy. Yes, I totally have a thing for Italy. I lived there 2 years and so I feel like it’s home for me. Plus, speaking fluent Italian I’d love to go there for a conference. Not to mention, I’d love to get some connections with the European healthcare IT and mobile health world.

I’d love to make it to the Mobile Health Expo East in New York City on June 21-23, but it’s not looking like I’ll make it to the east coast. I attended this in Las Vegas and had a great time. They tell me they’ll be coming back to Las Vegas. In fact, I got word at HIMSS that they might even partner with a big technology show in Las Vegas. That’s a little disappointing to me, but it makes sense for them to do it. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be going again.

Then, I should definitely find a way to make it to one of the Health 2.0 conferences. Probably the Health 2.0 in San Francisco would be best, but I almost made the one in San Diego in a couple weeks.

The real problem with all of these conferences is that the older I get the less I want to travel. I always enjoy it once I’m there, but there’s certainly a cost to travel. I’m not even talking about the actual cost of the flight and hotel. Although, add in the annoyance of travel and the actual costs of the flight and hotel and I usually opt out of most of the conferences. Unless someone pays my way to the conference. Then, it’s pretty hard for me not to attend.

Which mobile health conferences do you plan to attend? Which ones should I attend?

March 14, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.