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Congratulations to SMS texting pioneer Ken Banks -- mobile health wouldn't be the same without him!

FrontlineSMS is a free, open-source software platform that enables large-scale, two-way text messaging using only a laptop, a GSM modem, and inexpensive cell phones.  The program was developed by Ken Banks, the founder of, which specializes in the application of mobile technology in the non-profit sector, particularly in the developing world. In recognition of his work with and FrontlineSMS, Ken recently won a prestigious Tech Award, an international award that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.  

More evidence that text messaging is a powerful health tool

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted the 2009 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media.  I wish I could have been there.  Thankfully, Susannah Fox, researcher extraordinaire for the Pew Internet & American Life Project and a regular contributor to, has posted a partial accounting of the proceedings. I encourage those of you interested in the role of social media and health to read her post and the accompanying informative comments.

Hope Phones—A signal of mobile health experimentation to come

In the recently released IFTF report entitled, Booting Up Mobile Health: From Medical Mainframe to Distributed Intelligence, we forecast that there will be high levels of experimentation and innovation in mobile health devices and services emerging from the Global South.  We expect poorer nations, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, to develop into the main proving ground for decentralized, mobile models of health care delivery.  This is not only due to the rapid diffusion of mobile technology, but also because 20th-century models of centralized, institutionally managed health care

Teach me how to take better care of myself while I am on the go

For our conference last fall on Mobile Health, I was tasked with finding an employer that was providing to its employees some form of mobile health.  We ended up bringing in an HR person from Humana, one of the largest health plans in the country, because it offered its associates an innovative weight loss program—Sensei for Weight Loss(TM)—from Sensei, a technology company owned by Humana.

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