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Study Shows Mobile Health Could Transform Healthcare

By Stephanie Reardon

A study completed by The Economist Insights indicates that mobile health technology could create new opportunities and revamp the healthcare industry. The survey was compiled from 144 surveyed healthcare providers working in public and private sections of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices on the impact of mobile health in June 2014. The respondents hailed from 23 different countries.

The study showed that 64 percent of respondents believed the greatest impact of mobile health is its ability to provide improved access to health information for patients. Sixty-three percent believed their patients’ ability to make better health decisions based on having access to health information was the bigger impact.

Other providers indicated mobile health would reduce beneficiary costs (24 percent), provide a better approach to epidemic and pandemic prevention (20 percent) and lower hospital costs (17 percent).

The study also reviewed what type of challenges mobile healthcare may face. Fifty-one percent of the providers surveyed said they had concerns about securing data while using mobile devices, and 49 percent said that consumer privacy concerns would make it challenging for facilities to adopt mobile health technologies, with 65 percent of this concern being focused in North America.

More than half (53 percent) of healthcare leaders also indicated they worried their patients may misinterpret data and making poor health decisions. More than half of the individuals polled (54 percent) indicated that they worried patients would have trouble understanding how to use mhealth devices.

Other possible problems indicated in the survey included the healthcare industry’s aversion to risk (44 percent), and regulatory requirements hindering progress (19 percent).

Despite the challenges, the study overall seems to show the benefits will outweigh the risks.

“In the future of mobile health, success will go to pioneers with the most innovative ideas, devices, services and business models.” the survey concludes.


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