I'm in DC for IHE meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, and giving a session at the 2012 mHealthSummit Wednesday afternoon on Trends on Mobile Interoperability and Standards.  I scheduled my travel to attend the IHE educational session held on Monday, but decided to take advantage of by mHealthSummit badge to take look at the conference instead.  I can listen to Charles talk about XDW any day of the week, after all, I work with him.

The keynote presentation was kicked off by Steve Lieber of HIMSS.  HIMSS acquired the summit from The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health early this year, so having Steve Lieber give the opening remarks made sense.  Following him were Mark Bertolini of Aetna and then Harry Totonis of SureScripts.  Frankly, both speakers were good, but they also spent so much time patting themselves on the back that I thought they were going to break their arms.  Next year I hope we see Keynote speakers that are more innovative in this space.

Mr. Bertolini had quite a bit to say about Aetna's efforts on their CarePass™ Application Platform. He touted the fact that it is freely available and therefore "non-proprietary".  It's a good thing they don't let the audience ask questions of the keynote speakers, because I'd have had one about where he got his definition of non-proprietary from (not protected by trademark or copyright).  Then again, standards aren't his business, so maybe I need to give him a break.

I suppose too, that I also need to give Mr. Totonis a break for bringing up the inevitable comparison to the financial industry, as that reflects his prior business experience.  I've heard this comparison far too often.  He talked quite a bit about how many transactions that SureScripts does, and how it has saved tons of money for prescribers and pharmacies, and improved health.  My challenge here is what this has to do with mHealth.  mHealth is, after all, the use of mobile technology to deliver healthcare services.  While I can see the CarePass connection, I was a little lost on what SureScripts had to deliver for mHealth.

The exhibit floor took up about an acre.  I made my first visit to booth #1224 to see Regina Holliday live painting jackets for The Walking Gallery.  Unfortunately, she was still caught in DC traffic, so we connected up later.

The exhibit floor was an interesting collection of vendors and exhibitors.  It included:

  1. Startups so raw they had the smallest space possible, no fancy graphics and one or two people hawking their concept,
  2. Consultants on registering medical devices with the FDA
  3. Educational institutions doing mHealth research,
  4. Organizations making any sort of small, wireless devices,
  5. Consumer facing device manufacturers,
  6. Companies pitching mobile app development frameworks,
  7. Companies pitching mobile app development,
  8. Organizations pitching their "open source platforms" for mobile apps,
  9. So many organizations pitching their "HIPAA compliant" secure messaging solutions that I later just had to tweet:  "Until providers understand that HIPAA compliance is a property of an organization, not a product, we won't have adequate security"
  10. Almost anything medical with a wireless radio,
  11. Wireless radios (designed for the healthcare environment),
  12. Security and provisioning solutions for wireless environments, devices ... (see HIPAA Compliant discussion above).
  13. Disease specific programs that used SMS texting, apps, tablets, or anything with a wireless radio,
  14. At least two mHealth vendor association wannabees,
It was such a cornucopia of stuff, and it seemed that the only thing holding it all together was that it had to somehow be connected (or powered) without wires.  In fact, it was all connected by not having to be connected...
 
I was intrigued by one poster at the poster session, on tracking patient safety events as reported through Twitter.
 
I attended the session titled "Can you understand me? Interoperability and Standards", and sat in the front of the room (in case any of the presenters needed to be heckled).  Aaron Goldmuntz (West Health) made my day by saying that we had enough standards, and simply needed more implementation.  I have to agree (and did at length here).  Charles Parker gave a great overview of Continua without any slides (due to AV operator challenges), Erik Pupo (Delloite) did quite a creditable job describing Direct, Consolidated CDA, and IHE's Mobile Access to Health Documents (even if he decoded the acronym incorrectly), and Dennis Seymour (Ellumen) explained quite well the purpose of MDS2.  
 
Deborah Estrin (Open mHealth) attracted my one difficult question.  She presented on Open mHealth, which is an architectural framework for building mHealth Apps.  It was pretty clear from her presentation that she probably couldn't name any mHealth standards if I quizzed her.  I asked her if Open mHealth was an SDO, and if not what relationships the organization had with other SDOs.  It was an either/or question, so she gave the geek answer: Yes. When I further queried her, she made it clear that Open mHealth didn't have any formal connection to any standards organizations.
 
I need another SDO wannabe like I need another hole in my head, so I made a point to follow up with her later.  When I showed up at the Open mHealth booth, Deborah made a point to let me know she was kicking herself with how badly she'd handled my question, but was deep in conversation with someone else.  So I quizzed the booth folks, and her colleague Ida Sim showed a remarkable awareness of what was going on in the Healthcare standards space.  She made me much more comfortable with where Open mHealth is headed.  There are some good ideas worth watching here.   I pointed Ida to the FHIR workgroup mailing list (see fhir under Technical Steering Committee), because while she knew what it was, she didn't know where to go to get more information.  I may have to follow up on that group later.  I still need another group to follow like I need a another hole in my head, but at least this one is not likely to reinvent a square wheel...
 
I did catch up with Regina later, and got to be a booth babe (at least I have the hair for it) for a bit with Regina and @ctorgan (photo by @ElinSilveous).

 

 

I dropped by the IHE Interoperability Showcase, but couldn't stay through a demo (I had to run off to an HL7 call).  I did catch up with some of my IHE buddies, and they have an exciting announcement that I'll talk about later this week.