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Connected Health Symposium focused on mHealth gear

Connected Health Symposium 2014 puts a spotlight on mHealth technology, how it can drive new healthcare reimbursement models and patient engagement.

Update: Intel's Eric Dishman could not present at the Connected Health Symposium due to illness.

An all-star lineup of speakers -- including Eric Dishman, fellow and general manager of the Health & Life Sciences Group at Intel Corp. -- highlights the agenda of the Connected Health Symposium 2014, presented by Partners HealthCare, New England's largest healthcare system.

Dishman isn't just a tech executive, but a patient whose mysterious health condition physicians dubbed "Eric's disease" after tests ruled out a number of known conditions; it took  many twists and turns over two decades before he got a kidney transplant in 2012 and was brought back to health.

His presentation at Connected Health Symposium 2014 no doubt will address his travails navigating the U.S. healthcare system, and how digital data systems both helped and hindered his complex care paths. Speaking with SearchHealthIT at the HIMSS annual convention earlier this year, Dishman said that his experiences battling cancer as a teenager and his recent worsening health issues culminating in the kidney transplant have made him more of a patient advocate than a businessman.

"It's time to make patient ownership of data a priority, and not just a slogan," said Dishman, whose health issues over the last few years landed him in 37 different hospitals and clinics -- subjecting him to the worst of our health system's data interoperability roadblocks.

Connected Health Symposium 2015

Peruse this photo story featuring the five most innovative technologies at Connected Health Symposium 2015

While it's not guaranteed he'll bring it out for his CHS 2014 keynote address, Dishman is known to carry a rotary telephone to conferences, using it to illustrate the current U.S. healthcare system, based on outmoded technology.

Connected Health Symposium grows from local conference to national event

Dishman joins about 100 other speakers and panelists for CHS, which started out 11 years ago as a small conference in a nascent industry, but has grown to a nationally followed conference with a well-known Twitter hashtag.  Joseph Kvedar, founder of M.D. Partners' Center for Connected Health, has seen his Connected Health Symposium graduate from hotel conference centers to this year's debut at the Boston Seaport World Trade Center. The new space accommodates a larger exhibit hall and offers room for the expanded slate of keynotes and breakout sessions to spread out.

"I think we enjoy a reputation for being a leading event, from a thought perspective particularly," Kvedar said.

He said the event's eclectic mix of entrepreneurs and innovation leaders from big corporations, medical experts, academics and patient advocates makes for a heady intellectual experience and one he said has paralleled the center's creative ethos.

"In my own experience [of] building the center and trying to keep us on the front end of change, I end up seeing things in other industries that inspire me, or try putting two different things together," he concluded.

Kvedar: Mobile's still the future for healthcare

Five years from now, Kvedar said he envisions a health industry that is much more connected than it is now, with dramatically wider adoption of tools that are becoming common now, such as remote video systems and devices ranging from consumer smart watches and scales to advanced, FDA-regulated medical instruments.

"The fact is that as much as we've grown, we still have an uphill battle," he said. "But there's a lot of money pouring into this space and we have good news on the other side with new payment models like value-based systems.

"I expect that in five years, we'll have some basic services that people will be getting electronically in the cloud or on mobile," Kvedar continued.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writer or contact @SSutner on Twitter.

Additional reporting by Don Fluckinger.

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