Waegemann sees huge potential, but much fragmentation in mobile health

Yet another sign that the field of mobile healthcare is maturing was last year's decision by Peter Waegemann to shut down the Medical Records Institute and related TEPR (Toward an Electronic Patient Record) conference after 25 years and transition to a new organization called the mHealth Initiative. The Medical Records Institute previously had projects called the Mobile Healthcare Alliance and, more recently, the Center for Cell Phone Applications in Health Care.

"I'm excited about m-health the way I was about EMRs eight years ago," Waegemann tells FierceMobileHealthcare. He sees more innovation in mobile healthcare right now than in other areas of health IT, and nearly unlimited potential for mobile technologies to improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. But, as with EMRs not too long ago, mobile health is a rather fragmented field. "We think we can create substantial benefits," Waegemann says, "but there needs to be an m-health community."

"There are still too many Band-Aids," Waegemann adds.

Right now, Waegemann is trying to get his arms around the scope of the m-health field. The group has identified 12 application clusters and Waegemann hopes to define each area by the end of 2012. The mHealth Initiative holds its first International mHealth Networking & Web Conference next month in Washington, D.C., and Waegemann also is looking for grant funding to support projects to test mobile technologies in the real world.