A study finds that consumers have high expectations for mHealth, particularly in developing economies as mobile cellular subscriptions there become ubiquitousBANGALORE, INDIA: Widespread adoption of mobile technology in healthcare, or mHealth, is now viewed as inevitable by more than half of doctors and healthcare payers in developed and emerging markets around the world, including 60 per cent in India, a research report revealed.
The pace of adoption will likely to be led by emerging markets that rank highest among ten countries on a score of mHealth maturity, according to the new global study conducted for PwC Global Healthcare by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The study 'Emerging mHealth: paths for growth' found that consumers have high expectations for mHealth, particularly in developing economies as mobile cellular subscriptions there become ubiquitous. In emerging markets, consumers perceive mHealth as a way to increase access to healthcare while patients in developed markets see it as a way to improve the convenience, cost and quality of healthcare.
According to PwC, if the promise of mHealth is realized by consumers, the impact on healthcare delivery could be significant and fundamentally alter traditional relationships within the healthcare industry.
The use of mHealth and speed of adoption will be determined in each country by stakeholders’ response to mHealth as a disruptive innovation to overcome structural impediments and align interests around patients’ needs and expectations.
“Despite demand and the obvious potential benefits of mHealth, rapid adoption is not yet occurring. The main barriers are not the technology but rather systemic to healthcare and inherent resistance to change,” said David Levy, MD, Global Healthcare Leader, PwC.
“Though many people think mobile health will be ancillary or bolted on to the healthcare industry, we look at it differently: mHealth is the future of healthcare, deeply integrated into delivery that will be better, faster, less expensive and far more customer-focused,” he added.
In the report, the EIU examines the current state and potential of mHealth (defined as the provision of healthcare or health-related information through the use of mobile devices) and the barriers to adoption and opportunities for companies seeking growth in the mHealth market.
The report provides an assessment of the maturity for mHealth adoption based on four pillars -- awareness, regulatory and reimbursement issues, technology and relative impact of mHealth on the market in ten countries: Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US. India ranked among developing countries in its maturity for mHealth adoption.