Leaders in San Diego m-health community discuss wireless innovation, roadblocks

Readers of FierceMobileHealthcare understand how wireless and mobile technologies have the potential to revolutionize healthcare. Now, the wider business community is starting to figure that out.

"I think the topic of wireless health itself is conspicuously absent from the popular media. This is changing, but there is a lot more visibility that needs to be achieved," Paul Sonnier, co-chair of the Healthcare Communications Special Interest Group at CommNexus San Diego, a local network of telecommunications companies, says in the current issue of the Rady School of Management Business Journal. The journal, published by the University of California, San Diego, features an interview with three key figures on the San Diego-area m-health scene.

They stay realistic about the capabilities of mobile healthcare and the roadblocks that lay ahead. "Changing medical practice is one of the most difficult things to do. We will need to prove that wireless health will not only save lives, but cost less," says cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol, vice chairman and chief innovation officer of the West Wireless Healthcare Institute and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute at Scripps Health. "In addition to that overarching challenge, we will need to work together as an industry to overcome regulatory, reimbursement and legislative barriers. Enlightened policies are desperately needed to change outdated, inefficient models of healthcare delivery."

All three interview subjects are bullish on the areas of wireless monitoring and home health. "Remote care, the opportunity of practicing medicine from afar, is probably one of the emerging transitions this year," notes Darrel Drinan, co-founder and CEO of San Diego-based medical technology accelerator PhiloMetron. "Major companies such as GE and Intel have really acknowledged this is a growth market, and are shifting large amounts of R&D dollars into low-cost, mobile remote healthcare development programs."

And, surprisingly, not all are raving about Apple's iPad. "The iPad, in its current iteration, doesn't seem to be a game-changer," Sonnier says. "It's not really suited for the hospital environment and doesn't offer any significant advantages to existing tablets currently being used in hospitals. However, if some key features are added and it becomes ubiquitous, like the iPhone, this outlook could change."

For additional information:
- read this Rady School of Management Business Journal article, posted on the Telecare Aware blog