Claudia Tessier is one of the prime leaders in the mobile health field. She is founder and president of the not-for-profit membership organization, mHealth Initiative Inc. (mHI) and previously served as executive director of MoHCA, the Mobile Healthcare Alliance.
TPP: What is the current focus of your organization? Tessier: mHealth Initiative is the leading organization promoting new communication patterns in healthcare through the use of mobile phones and other mobile devices (mDevices) in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Our focus is on the ability of this mHealth phenomenon to enable participatory healthcare, which involves healthy people as well as patients, both wellness and care providers, payers, pharma, researchers and public health as active participants in a healthcare system that is open and transparent.
TPP: How has this focus changed in the last 2 years? Tessier: For over 25 years, until just last year, our focus was on the promotion of electronic health record systems. As we closed this chapter, we shifted our focus to mHealth through the formation of the mHealth Initiative, a not-for-profit organization. mDevices and their applications represent the fastest growing technology in human history. Their adoption in healthcare is happening both spontaneously and through strategic planning at individual and organizational levels. mHealth Initiative seeks to bring together all the stakeholders – users, developers, vendors, and more – to encourage and facilitate the design, selection, and implementation of mHealth devices, applications, and systems in order to maximize their benefits and successfully meet their challenges .
TPP: What are your current initiatives? Tessier: We are currently working on three projects: First is the mHealth Networking and Web Conference February 3-4, 2010 in Washington (www.mobih.org/meetings/). Next is creation of an observatory that provides information about mDevices and related applications and their impact on healthcare (www.mobih.org/observatory/). Here we address the 12 mHealth application clusters: patient communication, access to resources, point-of-care documentation, disease management, professional communication, education programs, administrative applications, financial applications, ambulance/EMS, public health, pharma/clinical trials, and BAN (body area networks). Our third initiative is an mHealth project to demonstrate the benefits of mHealth in a community, city, or region (www.mobih.org/project/).
TPP: What are the greatest challenges for your members in adopting and implementing technology? Tessier: Providers, patients, payers, health planners need to understand the current move toward a new healthcare system that is based on communication and access to resources anywhere, anytime, including at the point of care. Healthcare providers need to understand the benefits of communication-based care functions that better connect them to resources, patients, colleagues, payers, etc. Patients need to learn how to use mobile tools to become better informed about and more engaged in their wellness and healthcare. The necessary structural changes and reimbursement systems adjustments need to be implemented, and all stakeholders of mHealth need to work on policies, standards, and functionalities. All of this has to take place within the highly dynamic mHealth (r)evolution.
TPP: How are you helping members address these challenges? Tessier: Through our three initiatives. Our mHealth Networking & Web Conference will make people aware of what is available through mHealth and how such communication-based systems can be implemented to the benefit of all healthcare stakeholders. The Observatory is a resource for all who are seeking information about mHealth devices, apps, and systems. And the mHealth project will demonstrate the savings and the impact on access to and quality of care that mHealth can bring.
TPP: Describe your organization’s position in the industry with regard the solutions you deliver. Tessier: We are industry neutral and do not promote particular products or systems. Rather, we give companies an opportunity to demonstrate their applications and be listed in our observatory at the same time that we give users (providers, patients, payers, etc.) access to information about products and systems as well as to one another, developers, and vendors. The resulting relationships and networks will facilitate development, deployment, selection, implementation, and improvement of mDevices and applications.
TPP: What do you believe to be the state of the industry in terms of growths, maturity, and availability of viable products to address the technology needs of the medical community? Tessier: Currently, there are over 500 companies in the mHealth field and more then 5,000 health apps on smart phones. Yet, despite these impressive numbers, this is still an embryonic industry. The growth factor cannot be easily determined as the field is expanding further and faster than anyone might have predicted.
TPP: What advice would you offer to physicians attempting to implement mobile technology? Tessier: Clinicians (physicians, nurses and others) should study what is going on in the mHealth field, try some applications, and experiment with communication-based care for improving quality of care. They should network with other professionals and be responsive to patients’ expectations in regards to communication and information. Patients are using mHealth to research and monitor their conditions. Physicians are using mHealth to reach out to their colleagues as well as their patients and to enhance access to professional resources as well as to patient information. Public health is using it to identify trends as well as to advise both providers and the public. These are just a few examples. One can ignore mHealth, but it cannot be stopped because it is available and of benefit to all healthcare stakeholders.
Claudia Tessier - Bio
Claudia Tessier is one of the prime leaders in the mobile health field. She is founder and president of the not-for-profit membership organization, mHealth Initiative Inc. (mHI) and previously served as executive director of MoHCA, the Mobile Healthcare Alliance. Through online communities, face-to-face meetings and conference calls, she promotes mHealth Initiative as a neutral platform for developers, healthcare planners, health informatics professionals, healthcare providers, patients, and others to discuss common interests toward the development and adoption of mDevices in healthcare to empower patients and enhance quality of care and patient safety. Immediately prior to founding mHI, Tessier served for three years (2006-2009) as Vice President of the Medical Records Institute, Inc., sharing the leadership of the company with its CEO and developing and delivering numerous programs related to electronic medical records (EMRs), mobile health (mHealth), healthcare documentation, and health IT. She speaks and writes on these and related topics both nationally and internationally and has led over 50 seminars to more than 3,000 physicians throughout the US regarding the adoption of EMRs. She is the author of first comprehensive book on mHealth, Management and Security of Health Information on Mobile Devices, to be published in early 2010 by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).