Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HHS Secretary Touts Innovation

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius kicked off the “2011 mHealth Summit and Exhibition” held December 5-7 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center located in the Washington D.C. area. She told the crowd, innovation must speed up to improve our capability to provide the right information at the right time to both patients and physicians. In the HHS report released November 30th, she reports that doctors adopting health IT has doubled in two years and is scheduled to triple in the future. She emphasized that the Obama Administration has been a catalyst in helping doctors achieve EMR adoption.

Secretary Sebelius focused on how the present administration has accelerated the use of health IT and how exciting it is to be able at this time to expand the use of mobile technologies and constantly see new products and apps in the marketplace.

The Secretary described some of the recent innovative apps that have been developed such as the National Cancer Institute’s app to help teens quit smoking by enabling teens to use their constant companion the mobile phone. SmokefreeTXT a free text message cessation service provides 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to teens to help them quit smoking.

Another app Text4Baby is helping pregnant women with data and information reports that women using their cell phones and the Text4Baby app are highly satisfied and 75.4 percent report that Text4Baby messages let them know at an early stage about medical warning signs.

Another innovative app is helping women in danger. The Secretary stressed that women face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault and many of these assaults occur when women are in college, As a result, the HHS program Challenge.Gov produced apps with possible solutions to the problem.

The winning app in the Challenge.Gov program developed “On Watch” an iPhone app enabling users to send emergency information by phone, email, by texting to their friends and by using social media. Another winning app was “Circle 6” a mobile app that makes it quick and easy to reach your circle of friends and let them know where you are or if you need help.

The 2011 mHealth Summit “Shaping the Future of Mobile Health” conference was presented by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in partnership with mHealth Alliance, mHIMSS, and NIH. For more information, go to