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Rodin Calls For Open Development Of Mobile Health

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The impressive rates of improvement and development in both computer power and mobile data transmission will surely lead to improvements in the delivery of health care around the globe, according to Dr. Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

But, Rodin warned, speaking at the mHealth Summit in Washington on Wednesday, it must be accompanied by "recombinant innovation" to ensure that the widespread access doesn't take the three decades it did from the first cellular phone call made in 1973.

"The invention is often not enough," she said. "Now for the first time in history the world has the ability to bring a system … that makes true transformational change possible."

Rodin urged the adoption of open source technologies and cooperation and collaboration among different entities to ensure that innovations are swiftly adopted.

"Instead of 1,000 ships, we needed a mother ship … to take mHealth to scale," she said. "We must double the pace of our building."

From the development of electronic medical records in Africa that went from stand-alone systems to a web-based platform to an organization that links Pakistanis injured in natural disasters with donors and aid agencies online - and sending updates on the use of phone via SMS - there are examples of this innovation taking shape.

"A futuristic picture [of health care] is coming into focus," Rodin said. "The mobile revolution is here and will soon be in reach of every person, rich or poor, the world over."

She added, "The potential [of mHealth] is infinite if we keep it open."

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