Much of the recent buzz around mHealth centers on the emerging market and the potential of exciting new apps that promote patient engagement and boost population health. While these initiatives will play into the industry’s future, it’s important to appreciate and learn from mHealth history, particularly the successful deployments of older enterprise healthcare technologies.
In the 1990s and 2000s, hospitals throughout the United States were busy deploying Spectralink phones, which were some of the first mobile devices for caregiver communication. During the same time period, Emergin was first to integrate nurse call systems and patient monitors with pagers and similar legacy VoIP devices.
John Elms, CEO of Spectralink in those days, played an instrumental role in making Spectralink phones the de facto standard for healthcare communication. In a relatively short time, Spectralink phones became the pervasive mHealth technology, with hundreds of thousands of devices in use at more than 1,000 U.S. hospitals. Talk about mass deployment!
And while alarm management has become a popular topic in the past few years, largely due to The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal on alarm fatigue, it’s important to acknowledge the early pioneers in this field. In 1995, Michael McNeal founded Emergin, which became the leading provider of software used to rapidly transmit medical alarm signals throughout hospitals. Under McNeal’s leadership, Emergin created the alarm-management space, deploying the company’s technology to approximately one-third of U.S. hospitals over a 10-year period. Interoperability, interfacing with legacy systems, needing to update infrastructure, and centralizing and prioritizing assignments may seem like current issues, but Emergin was leading the way in solving those problems 20 years ago.
“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past.”
So you can understand why I’m excited to announce that John Elms and Michael McNeal, two “Godfathers of mHealth,” will participate in a panel discussion at VUE15, the Voalte User Experience conference coming this November. Rounding out the panel will be a third industry giant who probably has more experience than any other healthcare leader in implementing mHealth technologies. Denis Baker, former CIO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, will offer real-world perspective as the first hospital in the country to deploy smartphones for caregiver communication.
Since 2008, Voalte partnered with Denis and Sarasota Memorial to test text messaging at the point of care. Based on his extensive experience, Denis will share lessons learned on managing relationships with vendors, setting expectations for caregivers, driving innovation and more.
Today’s healthcare leaders don’t benefit from mulling over which mHealth app has the most engaging interface. We need to hear from real people who have deployed real technologies, and who can share the down and dirty lessons learned from scaling tens of thousands of devices in the rigorous healthcare environment. Spectralink and Emergin created the mHealth industry. I can’t wait to see them onstage in November, sharing their valuable insights for the benefit of all Voalte customers.
Trey Lauderdale is Founder and CEO of Voalte.