Health professionals, entrepreneurs and regulators will descend on Minneapolis next week for the debut of MobCon Digital Health, a conference focused on consumer medical devices.

The gathering, slated for Thursday at a Minneapolis hotel, is a spinoff of MobCon, a mobile technology conference that is set for November.

Organizers for the new event noticed a trend toward digital health products and thought Minnesota's "medical alley" would be a prime location for the conference, said Jack Cosentino, chair of the MobCon Digital Health advisory board and health care practice director at MentorMate, the software company that also runs MobCon.

"The health care community used to be all about intervention," like inserting a pacemaker for a patient, Cosentino said. "Now they've changed into prevention-based modeling."

In contrast to sophisticated implanted devices, doctors and researchers are increasingly looking at wearable health trackers like Fitbit and digital health care platforms such as Virtuwell.

Start-ups, speakers from Mayo Clinic and Medtronic are among those expected to attend, Cosentino said.

The event will likely attract 400 to 450 people, most of them industry professionals and entrepreneurs. The expected turnout, Cosentino said, is "fairly substantial" for the first run at the conference. The board hopes to get double the attendees next year, he said.

Just as the main MobCon currently has an outpost in Bulgaria, the hope is to expand the digital health arm to Europe as well, Cosentino said.

MentorMate is a subsidiary of Taylor Corp., a group of companies owned by Mankato businessman Glen Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune.

Tyler Gieseke is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.