3G Doctor

One of my key takeaways from the first day of the conference was from Don Jones, VP of Life Science at Qualcomm, when he explained how research at the West Wireless Health Institute had shown that the most effective motivator for patients to comply with their medication had been the element of “lost opportunity” eg. “Sorry but you didn’t get entered for the £3000 prize draw because you weren’t complying with your medication regime”.

Known for eating my own cooking, I figured that instead of talking about the global opportunity for 3G Video Calls and informed access to registered Doctors, perhaps it would be more effective if I used a similar analogy and instead of explaining the business opportunity I focused on highlighting how mobile operators who continue to ignore the opportunity to deliver mHealth services to their customers are continuing to leave Billions of Dollars of additional potential revenue on the table.

Readers of my blog will of course be familiar with the example I gave (Avea’s AloDoctor 3G Medical Call Center service) but it was particularly interesting to be able to present this in front of an audience that included representatives of Avea who had been responsible for implementing this innovative new service.

Here’s my slide deck anyway, hope you find it interesting and it gets you thinking and that you’ll share your thoughts on it with us:

At the end of the first day I also chaired the University Mobile Healthcare Challenge which consisted of 5 min presentations on mHealth R&D efforts and featured:

> Nils Masgard (iDoc24) (1st Prize)
> Dr Thomas Brennan (Oxford University) (2nd Prize)
> Dr Trishan Panch MRCGP (MIT/Harvard) (3rd Prize)
> Dr Talya Miron-Shatz (Wharton)
> Katiane Di Schiavi (University of Sao Paulo)
> Prof Chris Taylor (Manchester University)

I also presented on a keynote panel discussion on “will fitness sports and wellness wireless services and products bring mobile healthcare to the masses?” together with Dr Heike Unverhau (SOS4Life), James Shingleton (Beru F1 systems) and Dr Talya Miron-Shatz (University of Pennsylvania) which was moderated by Brian Dolan (MobihealthNews.com).

Quite unexpectedly this turned out to be a lot of fun as in the Q&A a member of the audience took the opportunity to question the panel about the ethics of what we were doing:

“Surely healthcare is needed in emerging markets where patients don’t have fancy iPhones and smart phones. This is where the need is and none of this stuff being presented is going to be of any use there!”

I really jumped to answer this as I feel strongly that if it wasn’t for entrepreneurs like Mo Ibrahim in the 1990’s who worked tirelessly to bring the empowering technological revolution and mobile economy to emerging markets, mobile phones might still just be regarded as a toy for yuppies.

Whilst I agree that iPhones will probably never even begin to serve the needs in emerging markets, it’s likely that the technology seen within wide range of smartphone devices will continue to filter down into ever lower cost mass-market devices. So, too, I believe, will the lessons, business models, experiences and successes of the entrepreneurs who are working with these smartphone devices, will filter down to help create new global mhealth opportunities that emerging economies will be able to take advantage of in order to help their citizens maintain high quality of living at very low cost, whilst respecting patient rights eg. privacy, autonomy etc.

Working as a relatively democratic system the App Store is doing a great job of identifying which services might work, are popular and have the potential to motivate patients to engage with their own care. It’s great to know that emerging market mobile content leaders (such as Dieter May, VP of Strategy for Nokia in Emerging Markets – who I met with at Nokia World in London the previous week) are looking carefully at the statistics on App Store successes and they are actively looking to emulate these successes by preinstalling even the worlds most basic mobiles with these functionalities.

This blog post is part of a series of mHealth reviews from the 2nd Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit 2010. Click here to get the full review.

About David Doherty

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