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Thoughts From Berlin – HIMSS Europe

This week I was lucky enough to be speaking about ‘mHealth in Pharma’ at HIMSS Europe’s mHealth summit in Berlin, so I thought I’d share some random impressions of a high-quality event, but also a note of caution.

I’ll start with my overall impression, by asking what an event like this says about the state of evolution of mHealth in Europe. This was the first time that this event has run in Europe, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that there weren’t thousands of attendees like there are at HIMSS events in the US. Nonetheless I still tend to think that Europe tends to trail the US in exploitation of mHealth currently and we need to catch up.

My other overall impression, and pretty much every event I attend confirms this, is that we don’t have a shortage of technology in mHealth. What we do have an issue with is the lack of engagement in the world outside of these conferences, the mainstream public and healthcare professionals who aren’t using mHealth in their everyday lives. I’ve referred to this before, and I still feel the biggest barrier to mHealth is communication – of the benefits, of the human stories – so that everyone can understand it. So I think it was highly appropriate that this event took place in Berlin, where there used to be a huge barrier between people. I hope it won’t take 25 years for us to dismantle our own ‘mHealth Wall’ but in the meantime I’d love our meet-ups to look at the communication challenge.

Other highlights

As you know by now, I don’t tend to get too excited about technology per se, as I believe it’s only appropriate to look for technology in the later stages of your mHealth project plan, but there were a couple of exhibitors who caught my eye, for different reasons:

HIMSS mhealth summit 2014

  1. Silverbullet – a Danish company (CEO Henrik Ibsen in the picture) who’ve developed an open source telehealth platform called OpenTele for the Danish government. This has created a really low-cost, scalable platform for telehealth, (rather along the lines of Simple Telehealth – FLO), and also reflects a real top-down commitment from the Danish government.
  2. HIMSS Europe mHealth summit 2014
  3. I also enjoyed meeting the nice people from Galvanic in Ireland, who have created a little hand-held gizmo and game called PIP to provide stress-coaching. It was a very different approach and very engaging. I think this could be a winner in the corporate well-being space.

Lastly, it was a real highlight to hear from Bastian Hauck, a German sailor and boatmaker who happens to be a Type 1 diabetic, who very modestly described his round the world sailing trip and how technology helped him. Quite inspirational and a willing coach to the mHealth technology crowd present.

If you were there too, or have your own thoughts, please let me know, below, or contact me.

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