The time is now for mobile health
My primary care physician and I got into a spirited debate about the value of technology in health care. While complaining about the high cost of EHRs and headaches created by the ICD-10 transition, he continually pulled out his iPhone to check email.
“How can you be opposed to HIT when you clearly see the value of technology in other areas?” I asked.
“If they made HIT as simple as this device, we’d be having a different conversation,” he responded.
This statement is music to the ears of mobile health vendors. With a recent report stating the global mHealth market will reach USD 10.2 billion by 2018 from USD 1.3 billion in 2012, the space is primed for tremendous growth. However, some questions remain.
Can mobile health offerings provide the simplicity and intuitiveness that physicians want?
Yes, in fact some consumer-facing technologies such as the iPad mini are already being used in healthcare. Plus, a growing number of healthcare technologies (iTriage, Telcare, etc.) are leveraging application-based models that mirror what consumers see with online banking and similar services.
What about the patient part of the equation?
A recent study found that consumers are driving much of the demand for mobile health technologies and applications. This is a great sign as patient engagement has historically been difficult to achieve. A key going forward will be for patients to see real value in mobile health – something that will require providers to also embrace these technologies.
Do healthcare organizations have the time needed to implement these offerings while also pursuing major initiatives such as Meaningful Use and accountable care?
Mobile health should not replace these initiatives but rather serve as a way of driving adoption of them. Having an application that helps manage a chronic condition dovetails nicely with reporting requirements for MU. As accountable care efforts pick up steam, remote monitoring will likely prove critical as providers track costly patients.
With consumers driving demand, the time is now for mobile health to realize mainstream adoption.