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Mobile Healthcare Today's Editor's Blog is a place for our editorial staff - and valued industry professionals - to provide their commentary regarding the latest developments. The opinions of our guest bloggers may not reflect the sentiments of MHCT.

mHealth Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

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There's no shortage of opinion, advice and research on the direction, adoption and investment in mHealth. While not all of it is conflicting, taken as a whole, there is much to keep track of as healthcare, policy and technology converge. To assist you with it all – as you digest wonderfully delicious heapings of holiday fare – here's a collection of some insights on what’s currently happening in mHealth:

• The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), one of the largest health IT trade groups, is in the process of launching a mobile subgroup, according to an article in Mobile Health News. The new group, mHIMSS, began taking individual registrations among current HIMSS members on November 2 and will start signing up corporate members December 5.

• HIMSS has an organizational goal of using technology to transform healthcare. It is in discussion with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about how mHealth can help reduce costs and improve outcomes, and with the Federal Communications Commission and the Food & Drug Administration about the agencies’ joint effort to create regulations for mobile devices.

• The mHIMSS group has a number of projects planned, including a mobile and wireless privacy and security toolkit; a formal education track on mobile health at the upcoming 2012 HIMSS annual conference in Las Vegas this February; and white papers, news and other resources. (HIMSS is also one of the sponsors of the upcoming mHealth Summit held in December and will have a presence at that conference as well).

• CompTIA released its “Third Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities study last week. Its findings: Healthcare providers plan to invest fairly heavily in technology in the next year and beyond. Particular areas of interest include electronic health records and mobile device usage, as both EHR regulations take effect and more caregivers adopt – or plan to adopt – smartphones and tablets in the workplace.

On the other hand, the study found lackluster interest in both telemedicine (only 14 percent of respondents were interested in the topic) and cloud computing, though the study pointed out that many caregivers using cloud computing might not even be aware that they’re using the cloud, so those results could be slightly skewed.

• IDC Health Insights has released a new MarketScape report that is designed to guide healthcare organizations evaluating electronic medical record/electronic health record (EMR/EHR) vendors. The report, released earlier this week, is titled “U.S. Ambulatory EMR/EHR for Midsize and Large Practices 2011 Vendor Assessment." It looks at 10 EMR/EHR products from eight vendors that qualify for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) incentives – and provides an opinion on which vendors are well-positioned now, and those that will likely gain market share in the next one to four years. The report also provides a quantitative analysis of each vendor’s current capabilities and future strategies.

Vendors included in the report are: Allscripts, Cerner Corporation, eClinicalWorks, Epic Systems, GE Healthcare, McKesson Corporation, NextGen Healthcare and Sage Healthcare Division.

• Telecommunications giant Vodafone is taking on mobile health, or the barriers to adoption at least. The world’s largest mobile company by revenues – and second largest by subscribers – released a global report November 21 to help stakeholders understand behaviors driving mobile healthcare adoption, as well as barriers to increasing adoption. At the same time, Vodafone launched a LinkedIn group for healthcare professionals to discuss the latest news on the emerging market for mobile health technologies and the international healthcare sector. Initial discussions within the group have focused on patient care in remote areas and, of course, the biggest hurdles to adoption of mobile healthcare.

The report, "Evaluating mHealth Adoption Barriers: Human Behavior," is released through Vadafone’s mHealth Solutions business unit. The report looks at the challenges facing healthcare professionals, behavior towards marketed mHealth services, and the health psychology and science of behavior. (Hint: results show a genuine interest in using mobile technology to improve patient care and increase efficiencies –  but that real concerns exist around reliability, cost and ease of use).

• A new study by the GSM Association and PriceWaterhouseCoopers posits that the Asia Pacific region will generate more than $7 billion in revenues from mHealth services in 2017. The majority of that revenue will come from telemonitoring services, which the report estimates will make up about 55 percent of the market, followed by diagnostic services, which will make up 24 percent.

The report, “Mobile Health – Enabling Healthcare,” puts the current Asian mHealth market at less than $500 million. But increased demand for effective healthcare in large countries such as China will accelerate growth at a 70 percent CAGR each year to 2017. Within Asia Pacific countries,  China will become the largest user of mHealth services by 2017 with $2.4 billion of the total revenue, followed by Japan ($1.3 billion) and India ($540 million).

That’s a mHealth overview for this Thanksgiving week in November, at least here in the U.S. Enjoy the holiday!

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