News Feature | February 18, 2015

Survey Points To Leveraging Mobile In Healthcare

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

mHealth Goes Mainstream

“Wherever there is a mobile signal, there is the capability for delivering better healthcare.” Eric J. Topol, Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute

This report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, takes a look at the impact of mobile technology across the international healthcare environment. It involves a survey of 144 industry leaders in both public and private healthcare, biotech, pharma, and medical devices. Some of the highlights you will find most interesting are below.

Case Studies

The impact of mobile health on rural communities is one of the standout topics of the report. In the first case study, home monitors were given to 50 Arizonans suffering from congestive heart failure, diabetes, and seven other, chronic illnesses. The monitors measured blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level, and weight, and automatically sent information back to Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) via mobile phone. Any patients without electricity were given solar chargers and batteries.

The results were a drop in average hospital stay from 14 days to just over 5 — a total savings of $90,000 per patient. The monitors also provided benefits including allowing nurses to spot problems proactively and helping patients understand that some symptoms were not signs of life-threatening issues.

Case studies involving wireless in China, smokers in New Zealand, and HIV tracking in Kenya are also featured (read more about what changes in the wearables market mean for solutions providers here.)

Beyond Education

The survey also revealed that 79 percent of the respondents saw mobile health technology as primarily being concerned with providing information and education — a sentiment many of your clients and most of your market likely share.

That said, most respondents also indicated hope for a future in mobile that goes well beyond education. Only a small minority of respondents (11 percent) indicated that education would still be the primary role five years from now. Instead, they saw the top three benefits as being patient participation, reducing care delivery costs and “improving personal awareness through self-monitoring”.

Challenges To Progress

Mobile, of course, provides its own challenges, many of which are likely at the forefront of your clients’ minds.

The top issues perceived by respondents (in both the public and private sectors) included:

  • People misinterpreting their own data
  • Data privacy risks
  • Legal challenges
  • Poor decisions as a result of poor information
  • Additional institutional costs

Additional topics covered include often overlooked opportunities in the pharmaceutical space, empowering the patient, and insight into the future of mobile healthcare.