Washington, D.C. is the place to be this week!  I’m here at the nation’s capital for the mHealth Summit, the largest mobile health event of its kind. Folks here at the summit are talking about the importance of patient-centric healthcare … and what we can do to make it a reality.

I’m thrilled to be surrounded by so many like-minded people, and this conference has me thinking even more about the future of healthcare. In a recent post, I focused on where we’ve come from—both as the healthcare industry and as a company. While I touched on where I think we’re going, I’d like to expand on that a little more.

As a company, we recently identified some major trends we’re seeing.  Two of these trends focus on mHealth applications:

1. A shift from stand-alone “unsponsored” apps to meaningful “sponsored” mHealth solutions supported and pushed by insurance companies, healthcare providers, employers, or other institutions will result in higher patient adoption and engagement.

2. Integrated mHealth applications will be created that can connect with other devices, apps, and data for more holistic healthcare, where information is safely shared across platforms regardless of the vendor.

With both of these trends, the key is that it’s going beyond just being an “app” to being a “solution.” And that, I think, will be huge shift starting in the next year and moving into the future.

The technology is being created even now.  Inside AT&T Labs, our company’s research and development arm, we have a project underway to help asthma sufferers manage their condition.

Researchers have created a sensor that alerts asthma patients when there are high levels of chemical triggers in the air. The device sends readouts to a remote monitoring dashboard on a smartphone, personal computer, or tablet. This helps patients make the shift from being reactive to being proactive in how they deal with their asthma.

These kinds of solutions—ones that go beyond being an “app” and tie back into a Health Information Exchange (HIE) —will be the future. Ones that enable preventative care.

I do believe that we can get there from here. Are we there yet? Not quite. Are we on our way? For sure.

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