I was struck by the insightful comments from panelist Patricia Mechael, Director of Strategic Application of Mobile Technology for Public Health at Columbia University. She spoke at today’s ‘Super Session’ on Lessons Learned Across the Globe. Mechael presented a David Letterman-like top ten list for the mHealth community to help us avoid duplicating work. This notion was repeated in many sessions today. With so many existing and new players in the mHealth field, we do not want to reinvent the wheel and we definitely do not want to reinvent a broken wheel! Mechael made the important point that we all need to capitalize on what others have already done and learned in the mobile health arena. Here is her list or “ten commandments of mHealth” as many are calling it:
10. We must unpack the pathways to mobile behavior change and evaluate the impact that mobile technology is really making on health. Let’s answer the question: How are mobile phones changing health-related behavior?
9. We need to tease out locally generated content and focus on local context. We need a down up model not top down. Messages need to be indigenously created.
8. Let’s move away from a user-satisfaction focus and evaluate the health outcomes. This is the only way to sustain mHealth programs—create targets and benchmarks at the beginning of program creation.
7. We must be realistic and become practical about what really works/what doesn’t—integrate mobile technology realistically.
6. Let’s invest in participatory design programs—work with who it will impact. We should invest in local developers, designers.
5. Let’s take a systems-thinking approach and think about adjacent fields which will be affected in our programs. We need to avoid single-issue thinking—packaging together services will help.
4. Collaborate don’t compete—it is not about whose app is best—we all need to win and benefit.
3. Recyle, reuse, and repurpose
2. mHealth at scale can only come from a leadership linked to local health priorties, that then link to tools.
….and the number 1 lesson for the mHealth community:
1. It’s not all about technology—its not one system. It’s about a state of health and wellbeing. We’re all impacted. Let’s work together.