Today we live in a world where we are interconnected closely, thanks to the technological advancements that lead to the introduction of wireless devices and mobile phones. According to the We Are Social’s new Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015 report, there are almost 3.6 billion unique mobile users in the world. Mobile in healthcare marketing can not be ignored and when it comes to the rising costs and ease of access to healthcare, Mobile health (mhealth) becomes the perfect solution to tackle these problems.
With the rising rate of mobile penetration, which is expected to be almost 50% of the world’s population by the end of the year 2016 (We Are Social’s new Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015 report), the market offers a lucrative opportunity for the mhealth to expand. According to the PwC and GSMA study the mobile health market is expected to reach nearly $23 Billion by 2017, almost six folds! Out of which around 65% will be represented by monitoring services and applications.
As per the PwC & GSMA study, the growing ageing population of developed countries and the increase in chronic diseases in emerging markets will be the main market drivers. Even though chronic diseases dominate the healthcare industry, hospitals are often focusing on acute care. The management of chronic diseases will again depend from country to country based on age, prevalence, income and lifestyle factors. The growing economic problems have made the current systems realize the high costs associated with healthcare in the world. And with awareness is the growing expectation that mHealth will make healthcare more accessible, patient friendly and more focused on prevention. The other key finding of the PwC & GSMA study was that treatment will be the third largest revenue driver capturing around 10% of the mHealth market. Notably, 15% of the market will comprise of diagnostic services as per the study. In this era it is very much needed for health care professionals to stay digitally connected with patients.
Mobile service providers will be most benefited by the market as they are continuously trying to integrate their services with other systems. But then again the integration of mobile in the healthcare lifecycle will take time to establish. This will depend on the interest that will be taken by the stakeholders. There is often a conflict of interest when it comes to sticking with traditional way or opting newer methods in healthcare industry.This change must be bought on slowly.
Other beneficiaries include device vendors, application developers and healthcare providers. The cost and integration of the mhealth services will vary again depending on the geography. Even though there is a huge opportunity that can be tapped into the conflict of interests may lag in achieving these benefits.
Emergence of New Models
Many a times new technology is expected to transform the current market quickly but it’s often overlooked that a rosy healthcare system takes time to set in and adapt with the new technology. Counterparts argue saying money could solve the problem if providers are reimbursed generously but they often fail to overlook the other factors that affect this transition in adoption like culture, timing and processing. To fill this gap new business models that are simple, effective and easy to use by both providers and end users must be created. For example, now with advent of new online appointment tools, booking and scheduling doctor appointments have become simple. As the number of providers that adapt this new digital technology grows, more tools can be introduced to them as they see the cost-effectiveness of the system. Overtime the system can fill in the gap entirely.
With such growing business models mhealth will slowly define how healthcare is delivered. It will not only get integrated as a part of the lifecycle of healthcare systems but also reduce costs, increase accessibility and provide quality healthcare for all.