David Aylward of the mHealth Alliance

The mHealth Alliance is a new partnership between the Vodafone, UN, and Rockafeller Foundations committed to o "facilitate global innovation and ensure maximum impact in the field of mobile health." MobiHealthNews has a great interview with David Aylward, the new executive director of the Alliance: He talks about integrating the mHealth community, the potential for mHealth to tackle chronic disease, and synergies between the developing and developed world as both enter mHealth at the same time from different directions.  The whole thing is worth reading if mHealth is your game, but here are a few choice quotes anyway...

Here, he really captures the big-picture challenges with mHealth going forward:

All of these mHealth services that touch these various communities need to be connected in some fashion. Integrating those services is one mission. Integrating those kinds of services into underlying healthcare systems, e-health to use the short language, is a second. Getting sustainable economics under both of those is a third. Researching and showing the health and economic effect of doing that is a fourth. Underneath those there are more procedural activities, support activities like communications and connecting people together to technology initiatives. Fundamentally, though, it’s those four goals that we are after.

And here he talks about chronic disease, and how both developed and developing nations are de-emphasizing hospitals as a model for health care:

The dominant illnesses, of course, are chronic diseases. We find in the developed world that 80 percent of our healthcare costs are caused by chronic diseases. I don’t mean to say that 80 percent [of our healthcare spending] is spent on obesity or diabetes, but it is caused by those. What we see in the developed world is this huge trend of trying to take care of people in their homes and try to keep them out of hospitals, because we know that as soon as they walk into that facility’s door it’s a couple thousand dollars and plus they’ll catch infections and so on. In the developed world we see all these discussions about ways to keep people at home, get information from them while at home, export the knowledge at the center.

In the developing world we are seeing exactly the same thing, but for a completely different reason. We are seeing the same trend because they don’t have the resources to build the hospitals and related resources. Worldwide we have this very, very powerful trend that we and your publication are right at the forefront of, the edge of. In that sense we can benefit directly from the development of the protocols and knowledge base that result in long distance care for health problems. In that sense the developing world will benefit a lot, but not because they figured it out in the West and can now bring it to the South, but because we are all facing the same problem together.