There are two camps in the mobile health (mHealth) issue: those who find the technologies to be beneficial and embrace adoption, and those who remain skeptical and refuse to adopt, or are slower to.
If anything, current market statistics are siding with the first camp—the global mHealth market is expected to be worth $49.1 billion by 2020, up from $1.2 billion in 2012; an estimated 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using mHealth apps this year, and those users will have more than 100,000 mHealth apps available via the iOS and Android platforms.
With all signs pointing to the mHealth explosion, challenges still exist. The most common ones being clinician adoption, lack of apps specific for medical use, improvement of medical apps that already exist, an authoritative collection of medical apps, security/privacy protection, and inability for healthcare organizations to handle Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.
These are challenges most can agree on but the skeptics still hold out on mHealth technologies until the benefits in efficiency and cost outweigh the disruption and expense of adoption. Those specific benefits include:
Contrary to the skeptics’ beliefs, as the chart to the right indicates, mHealth is already intertwined into the healthcare space. Providers are using smartphones and tablets to share information with patients, look up reference material, learn about new treatments and clinical research, or even help to diagnose patients. mHealth is proving to be beneficial for the providers and the patients receiving the care.
While there is still a high population of physicians who do not believe in the benefits of mHealth, they will not be able to ignore their patients. Millions of people are using mobile apps and wearable technology to track calorie intake, sleep patterns, miles jogged, and other health habits. As they become more in-tune with their own health they will expect that their physicians will do the same, using similar devices.
For more details about the mHealth phenomenon and what providers can do to move adoption in the right direction, you can view and download the eBook, “The Healthcare March to Mobility.”
The eBook includes commentary from myself and Dr. Woojin Kim, MD, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Montage Healthcare Solutions, that explains the needs, challenges, and benefits of mHealth.
Ben Wilson is the Director of Mobile Health at Intel Corporation. He is responsible for development and execution of mobile health strategies and programs at Intel. Ben is also Co-Chair of the Accountable Care Community of Practice, a consortium of healthcare IT leaders committed to collaboration in the development of Accountable Care healthcare organizations. A Stanford graduate, Ben’s MBA and MPH in Health Management were earned at UC Berkeley.