By 2020, PwC analysts predict the mHealth market will be worth $59 billion. With high market potential and consumer demand, mHealth is a revolutionizing industry that will transform the experience of not just patients with diagnosed health conditions but anyone striving to improve their health or maintain good habits. However, mHealth’s growth is not without substantial barriers. While offering convenience and more patient-centric care, there are persistent issues that the industry faces.
Health records contain some of the most sensitive information available on a given person. mHealth intitiatives have faced the challenge of ensuring privacy of such information across multiple platforms. Therefore, a recognized investment should be made to ensure that users information is not only accessible and available – but also protected.
2. Market Readiness
Despite huge potential, demand for mHealth is fragmented. While there are the “early adapter” consumers, there are consumers that are not ready for change at all. Development of mHealth must take into consideration whether the given technology being developed offers breadth that is for any users or depth for a very particular and specific need.
As the mobile and digital world advances, government regulation is often left trying to keep up by reacting to industry. One recent survey suggests that 66% of health executives think their organizations’ innovations fall into gray regulatory areas. This lack of clarity could slow innovation in important health domains.
According to Claudius Metze, Business Solutions Architect from SAP, almost every healthcare customer uses services from disparate systems that are hard to integrate in existing hospital systems. This poses a challenge not only because of incompatibility but because it also creates additional issues surrounding accessibility of data. For example, greater reliance on vendors to handle and extract multiple streams of data could further compound security concerns.
In essence, while change on the digital front is happening rapidly, the rest of the stakeholders are still catching up. Whether it is the government that is in process of passing applicable laws, end-users who are learning new technologies, or established providers who are adopting the system, patience will be key to moving all parties as one unit toward the same goal of leveraging mobile technologies for improved health outcomes and healthcare quality.