MobiHealth: BedSider and the Millenial Generation

In the DC Metro area there are many Meetups for creative and technology professionals. So many in fact, it’s getting challenging to choose between events being held on the same evening. One Meetup that is shaping up to be consistently strong is MobiHealth which held its second meeting on February 2, 2012 at Sapient’s office in Arlington, Virginia. The motivation behind this Meetup is exploring and achieving health goals through mobile and digital health innovation.

On February 2, the theme of the evening was the Millennial Generation – a sometimes mysterious topic for an older demographic. The format followed the structure of the last Meetup where a digital media showcase was followed by a moderated panel discussion. The showcase had examples of federal government responsive web design including the newly launched National Institute of Drug Abuse website ( shared by the IQ Solutions development team as well as an interesting young nonprofit organization, Kilifi Kids that uses cellular technology to help combat malnutrition and improve health outcomes in Kenya.

Lawrence Swiader of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy started off the moderated panel by discussing our cultural views of sex.  He got everyone’s attention big time with the stunning statistic that 7 in 10 pregnancies in the 18 to 29 year old demographic are unplanned.

As the Senior Director for Digital Media, Lawrence collaborated with the global design firm, Ideo to design and develop a human-centered campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancies. How did they do it? By directly pointing out that no one is every rational about sex. Rather than presenting data which will be ignored, the campaign website, BedSider is designed to appeal to the complicated often messy emotional issues around our views and then offer information and assistance to the target demographic that will allow them to plan and react more effectively.

The rest of the panel appeared a little worried about following BedSider but they did just fine.  Lauren Bailey of the US Department of Veteran Affairs talked about how the VA online communications team is using Facebook to engage our Veterans and the challenges of building trust with a community that is often under unimaginable stress. John Mangano of comScore presented a process for how organizations can track the progress of their health based campaigns. I wanted to hear more detailed specifics from Soni Dighe of  Rescue SCG but she again brought up the importance of using Facebook to engage the millennial generation.

This MobiHealth Meetup offers compelling content to the local health and technology community that will lead to more dynamic discussions and even more innovation.