From #mHS10 to #mHS11: What we need for next year

Herein, a mix of quotidian tasks and big goals for us to prepare for a 2011 mHealth Summit. mHS10 was a great conference, and represents a seachange in the field compared to last year. It had a selection of amazing speakers, lots of academics and implementers, and overall just the right crowd.

Still, there remain some changes I'd love to see for the conference itself, and I'll follow up with some bigger challenges that the mHealth world needs to deal with, based on the themes from this year's conference.

First, keep the music if you must, but add lasers and a fog machine. If you were there, you know what I mean.

No microphones for audience questions during plenarys - accept only SMS and twitter questions. Enable this by taking a page from the SXSWi playbook and setting up (and publishing everywhere) hashtags for every session. There will be much complaint about this, but (a) it saves us from mini-speeches and frustrated moderators trying to extract actual questions and (b) it's a mobile health conference, people. In no way should my modest twitter stream get me to the #12 spot in twitter-ers at the conference. This got rolling at the last few sessions, so let's keep that going for next year.

More implementers - some of the best technologists and projects were present in the halls and on the exhibit floor, but I'd love to see a track specifically for the projects out in the field and on the bleeding edge. A last-minute panel of implementers self-organized to address this need at MHS10, let's see it as core in 2011. I'd even like to see a panel of select implementers during a plenary.

More thematic networking opportunities! With the conference running till 6/7pm every night, it was difficult to add even more time on at the end of the day to make it out to the Open Data BBQ, the OpenMRS meetup or even the rogue Unconference. There's a clear need for more semi-structured networking and collaboration opportunities, and these should be given some better space and time to thrive.

All of this basically means that the conference has reached a new scale where more tracking and sub-grouping becomes necessary -- and this is a very exciting development.

Next year, though, I'm bringing my glowsticks.