Is mHealth the next killer app? by Ian Volans
Of the three speakers addressing the question “Can mHealth become a profitable business?” in a Congress session this week, it was the distinguished doctor from India who dared describe mHealth as “a killer application.”
Professor Krishnan Ganapathy has been running mHealth clinical trials in India since 2007. He has already demonstrated the efficacy of undertaking clinical examinations, ECG and blood pressure measurements by mobile. The imminent launch of 3G in the subcontinent can only elevate the potential of mHealth. Interest in mHealth stems from the strain that ageing populations are placing on the healthcare sector.
With people living longer, 65 percent of the population now have chronic conditions such as asthma or cardio-vascular diseases. Health spending worldwide already accounts for ten percent of GDP and is growing at a faster rate than the global economy. At 17 percent of GDP, the US currently tops the health spending league table.
According to Jose Perdomo of Telefonica, in the developed world the imperative is sustainability in the face of budget deficits. Less constrained by legacy infrastructures, emerging economies have the opportunity to contemplate new approaches as they strive to improve access to healthcare. Fragmentation, poor information flows and a lack of alignment between the various stakeholders are common in the complex health sector. Mobile has the potential to make a significant contribution to improving efficiency and productivity. Defining business models is proving to be the biggest challenge. Telefonica suggested that one approach is for operators to offer to serve the first 500 or 1,000 customers free of charge and then, as the benefits are demonstrated, agree a pay-per-patient model with healthcare providers. Engagement with governments and administrators is critical.
Christopher Hill described how AT&T has been seeking out bestof-breed health and wellness solutions. At present, the medical insurance sector is reluctant to reimburse for mHealth, he added. With the recent introduction of mobile number portability in India, Professor Ganapathy suggested that in future mHealth could become a value added service that operators would use to drive customer loyalty and retention.
NB. Posted here in entirety because I find the Daily’s are rather large/difficult to search documents, there’s also a rather brief nod to Doro’s mHealth partnership announcements.
Interesting article that reminds me I have to upload my review of Apollo Hospital’s new Call a Doctor service that has been launched with Aircel: