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ABI Research attended the second annual 2010 mHealth Summit in Washington DC this past week, from November 8 through November 10. The conference drew attendees from 44 countries and exhibiting companies ranging from small startups (e.g. Telcare) to large established technology vendors (e.g. Qualcomm). There was also an interesting mix of the expected technology folks, along with policy makers, healthcare researchers, and care providers/NGOs.

What was clear from the conference that while “mHealth” is still a fuzzy term – many of the panels and presentations wrestled with just what the term encompassed – most of the attendees were focused on handset-based healthcare applications and the use of text messaging to convey health information and establish connections between patients and care-givers. This underscored to us the very nascent nature of the embedded cellular (M2M) healthcare technology market. While cellular connectivity embedded into various forms of gateways and healthcare devices were on display at the show, they were few and far between, and clearly an afterthought at a conference that regards mobile = handset. It will be interesting to see if/how this changes at future Summits.