I noted recently a comment from Axel Nemetz, Head of Health at Vodafone, outlining how Vodafone is looking to take mHealth mainstream so we can “drop the ‘m’ in mHealth”. The situation is of course more dire at Telefonica/O2 where they’re under the impression that mHealth is just a buzzword

With mHealth being at the centre of a convergence of two distinct trillion dollar industries (Mobile and Healthcare) it’s clear that while it might be creating a storm it’s not one that’s always obvious even to those right in the middle.

Thankfully a post today from Tomi Ahonen, the worlds most published mobile industry author and the individual who first explained why mobile was the 7th mass media (back in 2007), has helped me put down some more thoughts about why it’s very unlikely anyone’s going to be dropping the m anytime soon:

As I have been arguing for a decade… …mobile phones will cannibalize all that is pocketable and digital, more recently I have summarized it to this formula: Mobile + Anything = Mobile

…so initially it was a ‘musicphone’ now all mobile phones have music. So originallly Mobile + Music became just Mobile. Or the camera. Early on it was a curiosity and not all phones, not even all premium phones (remember early Blackberries) did not have cameras. Mobile + Camera became just Mobile. Today almost every phone has an inbuilt camera of some sorts, most have two. And so forth. Mobile plus anything becomes soon just mobile”

In the future when mHealth is mainstream and you ask a patient what what they are doing:

when they watch a video they downloaded after snapping a QR Code on their medication packaging

when they review the documentation they get after having a consultation with a Doctor

when they read a SMS from their Smoke/CO detector telling them to change the battery

when the GPS of their mobile sets their care monitor to “security mode” as they leave the house

when they press the SOS button on their mobile and a “please call me when you get a chance” SMS is sent to a carer

when the data from their blood pressure monitor is automatically uploaded to their EHR

when the data from their weighing scale is automatically uploaded to their EHR

when the data from their glucose meter is automatically uploaded to their EHR

when the data from their implanted medical device is automatically uploaded to their HealthVault account

when they snap a pic of their carers tablet screen to authorise them to view their medical records

when they share their medical history before going to the Doctor

when an informed Doctor video calls them on their mobile

when they get an activity level reminder from the pedometer app that runs out of the box on their mobile

when their mobile reminds them to drink more fluids on a hot day

when they hold the ends of their mobile and an ECG is filed in their HealthVault account

when they use mobile AR to check an OTC medication doesn’t conflict with something they’re being prescribed

when they get a reminder to take the stairs instead of the lift (to boost their activity levels)

> when they get a SMS reminding them of an available appointment

when they get a MMS from their dietician encouraging them to choose something healthy for lunch

> when they make a call to 911/112 and share their GPS so the operator doesn’t need to ask where they are

when they conduct a renal function test in their home

They won’t reply that they’re “engaging with the Healthcare system” they’ll be more likely to say “oh I’m just using my Mobile”.

PS. Don’t underestimate the amount of time the “adoption” phase will take… mHealth is setting incredible new records but it still took over a decade and billions of $’s of federal government funds to get to a stage where 17% of U.S. physicians and less than 10% of U.S. hospitals had implemented a basic electronic health record system.


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