A bit surprised by the lack of quality in this GSMA PwC Report “Touching Lives through Mobile Health: Assessment of the Global Market Opportunity” that’s been released ahead of the annual global mobile industry congress in Barcelona.
Take for example this chart showing how the report authors are expecting >$1 Billion of mHealth revenues to be broken down in Africa in 5 years time:
Europe’s even more fascinating (a market opportunity that the report pegs at US$ 6.9 billion by 2017):
I suppose this publication should be welcomed by anyone who (like me) wants to see mobile operators get more interested and improve their focus on the healthcare market but I think this report makes far too many glaring oversights of the changes that are taking place in the pharma market (which is pretty much ignored in the report), healthcare provider industry and amongst patients (as they increasingly BYOD&DP – bring your own device and data plan – to healthcare relationships).
In many markets the pharma industry can quite simply afford to give away mHealth services as long as it maintains differentiation (eg. by better compliance/outcomes) and sales of it’s branded products.
Similarly most of the Healthcare provider community in a market like Europe will be only too happy to subsidise mHealth as it provides lower cost ways to provide care eg. as we see with clinics swapping out expensive snail mail with SMS appointment reminders (which aren’t in themselves adding much to mobile operator bottom lines).
As we see with todays fixed telecom providers against a backdrop of free it’s not just the total revenues that will be impacted but in my opinion it will be the search for profits that will represent the bigger challenge going forward.
When the worlds leading public health professors are reporting on how mobile has opened windows of opportunity that did not exist before (eg. the radically new cability to take action BEFORE a crisis occurs that is being leveraged so well in Bangladesh) and mHealth is increasingly being seen as a natural component of how we do public health I think we should be careful not to publish misleading statistics that will potentially:
> Discourage telcos from engaging with healthcare providers (“Why focus on supporting Healthcare Practitioner’s – the PWC/GSMA report says they’re only a 6% share of revenues in European mHealth”)
> Disappointment profit and revenue expectant mobile operators (eg. when they realise that the lions share might not be all theirs)
Perhaps it’s just me but I can’t help feel it’s action NOT wishful thinking and attempts to sell telcos a lemon that will bring the future here quicker.