This is my first time attending the mHealth Summit. In past years, I’ve seen the flood of tweets that have come out of past mHealth Summit events and so I knew this year I had to be here. This year’s event doesn’t have a keynote like they had last year in Bill Gates, but it’s been a good event. If I remember right, I’ve heard they have 300 exhibitors and 2600 attendees. I heard in the halls someone saying that they thought the attendance at the event was a little disappointing, but of course that was just from someone in the hall. It’s still a growing event and I think one of the best signs for the event is HIMSS (and now mHIMSS) involvement in the event as well. Wait until the HIMSS machine gets rolling and I think the event will be even better.
One conversation I’ve heard a number of times at mHealth Summit is whether the companies we’re seeing here are real or whether they won’t be around for long. Basically, are these shells of ideas that don’t really have great sustainable business models.
I’m a little torn by the discussion. Mostly because there’s little doubt that many of the companies that are here are going to fail. Particularly because there are at least 40 companies in the nicely done mHealth Startup pavillion. Depending on the numbers you prefer, something like 9 out of 10 startups fail. This isn’t conjecture, it’s basically fact. So, many of these companies will fail, but quite frankly that’s a pretty healthy part of the environment. We want creative individuals that are doing things that may or may not work out. There are thousands of HUGE companies around today that first started out as outrageous ideas.
I heard one person comment that mHealth Summit has a lot more people working together and seeing how they can build their ideas. They contrasted this with the also popular Health 2.0 event in San Francisco where they said many people were too interested in comparing how much money each company had raised. That seems like a pretty apt description of the difference between Washington DC and Silicon Valley to me so it shouldn’t be all that surprising.
All in all, those who say that mHealth is dead or won’t be around for long are off base in my book. The move to mobile is going to happen and mobile technology will play a huge role in healthcare going forward. I could certainly agree with some people that mobile health might one day just become ubiquitous with Healthcare IT. In fact, we see signs of that already, but that doesn’t change the fact that mobile will be huge in healthcare.
One division I do see happening in the mobile health space is the division into two areas: mobile health for industry professionals (ie. doctors, nurses, etc) and mobile health for consumers. At least in the US, I think we’ll see more distinction between those two areas over time.