A star-studded lineup of health professionals will be in San Diego this month, ranging from the co-founder of WebMD to the man that holds the keys to the Food and Drug Administration's protected regulatory gates.
San Diego-based Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) will hold its eighth annual convergence summit at the Omni Hotel from May 28 to 30.
WLSA's flagship event takes place in San Diego every year to unite wireless and mobile technology innovators, scientists, physicians, policymakers, service providers and investors who are spearheading the digital revolution in health care.
The nonprofit trade association was created in 2005 and counts Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) as a founding member.
WLSA's view of connected health is broad.
“It ranges from the most highly regulated class three medical device to consumer health and wellness and fitness applications for your mobile device,” said Robert McCray, co-founder and CEO of WLSA.
Today WLSA has about 70 organizational members, spanning the globe from San Diego to South Asia to Europe. This month's meeting, which will include its members and others interested in the space, caps out at 275 people.
“You can do so much digitally to communicate at a distance but at the level of creating business relationships in any sector, it’s important to meet in person,” McCray said.
More than 60 individuals will take the stage during the conference.
Jeff Arnold, CEO of Sharecare, a health and wellness social network he created with the camera-savvy Mehmet Oz (of the "Dr. Oz Show"), will speak about the engaged health consumer with James Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California, San Diego.
Fowler, who McCray calls a "rock star" researcher, has several books and peer-reviewed articles under his belt.
Joseph Kvedar, founder and director of the Center for Connected Health in Boston, will chat about merging personalized medicine with everyday behavioral biomarkers.
“Looking to use emerging tools to modify behavior and improve heath -- a prevention mentality,” McCray said.
One interactive session will help participants figure out how to communicate the benefits of connected health to stakeholders.
“Create actionable concepts that can be taken back to their business with a goal of selling communication benefits of connected health to a particular audience,” he said.
Ant Creed, general manager of experience design at Carlsbad-based DD Studio, an industrial design and mechanical engineering firm, will lead the session.
“This is the kind of thing design firms charge tens of thousands of dollars for corporations to do,” said McCray. “We are doing it with a leader who has done that kind of thing on a commercial basis.”
Creed's firm helped create San Diego-based Sotera Wireless’ ViSi Mobile device, which provides constant data on changes in blood-pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, temperature and pulse so that a nurse can respond immediately and prevent life-threatening events.
Prizes for the three best concepts will be given out at the conference.
“It’s a better takeaway than a bag or logo pen. I believe good things will come out of that,” McCray said.
In Touch Health’s RP-VITA, an FDA-cleared robotic telehealth system that helps manage costs in the health care setting, uses autonomous navigation in hospitals.
“It’s the newest product of a company that’s been with us since almost the beginning,” McCray said. “We will see it, hear it, talk with it."
Bakul Patel, senior policy adviser of the FDA, will use RP-VITA during his talk about the regulation of mobile health apps and related connected devices.
Patel, who's responsible for mobile health regulation, might just be the most popular man at the conference, where companies are trying to find ways to clear regulatory hurdles to get their latest device on the market.
“If there is one person you want to learn from with respect to the future of mobile health, he is the one,” McCray said.
Christine Robins, CEO of Pittsburgh-based BodyMedia Inc., will also speak at the conference.
The wearable body sensor company was recently acquired by San Francisco-based Jawbone, proving that the connected consumer sector is becoming more engaged with medical grade health technologies, McCray said.
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