Harnessing elusive mHealth devices

Sessions take on myriad interoperability, security issues
By Jeff Rowe
12:00 AM

“It’s a new world out there. We’re moving from mobile being alternative and optional to it being mainstream and mandatory,” said Kenneth Kleinberg, managing director of The Advisory Board Company. “We need a continuum of approaches that take people from their desktop to a broad range of devices.”

On Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the HIMSS Media mHealth Summit, Kleinberg will participate in a panel discussion looking at interoperability issues with a sharp focus on myriad security issues surrounding the Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, movement.

While enterprise-owned devices have been tightly managed in recent years, Kleinberg said, the burgeoning use of personal devices has security managers scrambling.

The growing array of devices that fit under the mHealth umbrella isn’t making things any easier. Think: implanted monitors and sensors that feed data to applications – technologies that may not be as futuristic as they appear at first blush.

Indeed, on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the mHealth Summit, Suke Jawanda, chief marketing officer of the Bluetooth SIG trade association, will discuss just how close we are.

“This is very disruptive," Jawanda said. "Disruptive for medical device makers, physicians (and) insurers, but despite that, it’s going to happen.”

Whereas exactly what these sensors will look like and the functions they might perform remain something of a mystery since most have been developed in the last 12 months, nearly everyone is already familiar with the age-old practice of sending text messages. Yet, there is precious little hard research about the best way to reach patients, to entice them into reading and heeding texts.

“We ended up realizing that we were writing all sorts of different messages, but we didn’t really know the basic tenets of what constitutes a good text message,” said Frederick Muench, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center. Muench will discuss the results of a recent study during the “Text Message Preferences to Inform Interventions for Goal Directed Behaviors” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the conference.

The real goal, of course, is to help ensure that intervention programs using text messaging as a means of reaching out to program participants are pitching their messages in the best “text-ese” possible.

“Even the most motivated users, who are supportive of organizational policies, are still challenged to make sure they’re doing everything right,” Advisory Board’s Kleinberg said of BYOD. “So systems need to be in place that will support staff workflows properly.”

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