Connected Health Conference highlights: Patient engagement, Uber partnerships and the FDA

Several sessions focused on furthering patient engagement through health apps and devices.(PCH Alliance (a division of HIMSS)

Speakers at this week’s Connected Health Conference in the District of Columbia addressed a wide range of health information technology and mHealth concerns, ranging from the FDA’s regulation of medical devices to the impact data has on advancing precision medicine.

Here's a roundup of some coverage that came out of the event:

Bakul Patel, associate center director for digital health at the FDA, expounded on the agency’s draft guidance released this summer that clarified how real-world evidence factors into device safety evaluations.

Patel told audience members that the FDA is focusing on how evidence provides insight for healthcare and regulatory decision-making and emphasized the importance of a cohesive partnership between regulators and manufacturers, according to MobiHealthNews.

Several sessions focused on furthering patient engagement through health apps and devices.

Joseph Kvedar
Joseph Kvedar

Partners HealthCare vice president of connected health Joseph Kvedar told attendees that one reason providers and apps don’t have a closer bond is that there's currently no process for doctors to recommend mHealth apps, according to Healthcare IT News.

Cindy Brach, senior researcher at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, added that manufacturers need to deliver health information in a way that makes patients want to use it.

RELATED: Most mHealth apps aren't effective for chronic conditions

Four organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA) and HIMSS, announced a new collaboration called Xcertia aimed at improving mHealth apps. The founders urged stakeholders from all industries to join the group and “leverage the insights of clinicians, patients and industry experts” to create minimum standards for mHealth apps.

RELATED: AMA CEO: Docs must get more involved with mHealth apps

Representatives from MedStar Health and Uber offered an update on their ongoing partnership to provide transportation to patients in an effort to reduce no-show appointments, according to Healthcare Dive.

The partnership allows MedStar providers to request and manage patient rides using the ride-hailing app at a much lower cost than taxis.

Though they're growing in popularity, an investigation by FierceHealthPayer earlier this year found these types of partnerships are often fraught with legal challenges.

RELATED: Exclusive—Fraud lurks behind new patient transport arrangements

Healthcare executives also weighed in on the advancements in precision medicine and the impact of health data.

Kevin Johnson, senior vice president of health information technology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said more providers are realizing that social and behavioral data points are critical to making additional progress in this area, according to MobiHealthNews.

This week, researchers called on health leaders to broaden their reach to include data that addresses socioeconomic status and housing in an effort to improve population health. Greg Simon, the executive director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, added that a robust database of cancer outcomes will lay the groundwork for making widespread improvements to cancer care.

RELATED: Is the Cancer Moonshot program at risk under Trump?