Last week, we reported that the organizers of the Mobile Health Expo, one of many fledgling conferences focused on m-Health, was going to start up a not-for-profit trade organization called the Mobile Health Association.
Depending on how you look at it, the new entity is either providing much-needed leadership, or joining an already crowded arena that includes advocacy groups such as the American Telemedicine Association, the mHealth Initiative, the mHealth Alliance, the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance, the Continua Health Alliance, the West Wireless Health Institute and, to a lesser extent, CTIA – The Wireless Association and the GSM Association. Mobile Health Expo (and Mobile Health Association founder) Wendy Thomas prefers the former characterization.
“The idea is that there is a need for an association that is an umbrella organization over all the special-interest groups and associations that actually make up the mobile health ecosystem,” Thomas said at the conclusion of last week’s second Mobile Health Expo in New York. Plenty of groups represent wireless healthcare, telecommunications, telehealth and mobile money, which is an up-and-coming segment that Thomas believes will be important in healthcare, she said.
“There are many different special-interest groups, and even though there are associations that have some similarities, they are also very specific to their own special-interest areas.” Thomas envisions the role of the new association as analogous to a photographer’s association, with subgroups for wedding, sports and press photographers. “There is some overlap and some shared interest and some specific interest, and that’s what we’re doing, putting the umbrella organization over all the others,” Thomas said.
The nascent organization still does not know what direction it will go, but is soliciting interest from individuals, companies and associations. “We put out a call for interest here at the Mobile Health Expo,” Thomas said at the conference. “We’ve already received enough interest that we know it’s worthwhile to move forward with it.” Keep reading>>