Failure to Inspire
In day 2, attendees were provided a free lunch. The price was to sit through a series of keynotes that made for little opportunity to connect with the very people sharing the table. Each of the speakers were pleasant enough, but did little to captivate attention as people clanked away while eating their salads and roasted chicken breast. Servers waited in posts to be as helpful as possible by serving salad dressing and trying not to make too much noise as they cleaned off the plates from the first course. To add a pinch of irony to the lunch, Eric Dishman of Intel managed to frame the idea of moving 50% of health services out of ‘brick and mortar buildings’ in 10 years by saying that mHealth solutions should be practical and avoid hype.
Failure to Engage
I wrote on this yesterday, but it deserves further expanding; the setup of the conference has done little to enable collaborative and engaging discussions. The problem is not the conference itself, rather it is the format that is utilized. Each of the panels are packed with presentations that allow enough time for one or two questions per speaker. Even if Mitchell was willing to engage in the question of trail design, he would not have had enough time to adequately answer the question. As the sessions end people rush towards the speaker of choice to get in a comment or trade business cards. Couldn’t this be achieved by reading the published paper and emailing the author? With over 3,000 people who are involved in mHealth in the same building, the aim should be to find ways to share ideas that can improve health outcomes, program implementation, yada yada yada.
The most apparent disparity can be seen between the international and domestic cohort. The domestic side seems to hold the all of the cards as most panels are focused on US mHealth. Even the keynotes lack an international perspective. There are certainly points of intersection between international and domestic, but it is safe to say that the Tanzanian Ministry of Health is probably not over at the Verizon display to see what they have to offer.