mHealth in America

July 20, 2012

Yesterday, one of our Healthcare Business Transformation Specialists wrote this insightful blog about mHealth in America.

In his attempt to put a single definition to a phrase that’s become ubiquitous in our industry, he wound up with more questions than answers:

“Is mHealth delivered solely via smartphones?  Is it for patients or providers?  What about remote patient monitoring?  Is mHealth a subset of eHealth?  Or Telehealth?  Is it used in the hospital or at home?  How about public health? 

Yes.  No.  Sometimes.”
 
His conclusion was that “Everyone in healthcare has heard [mHealth] talked about ad nauseum, but it is hardly pervasive.” He goes on to explain four intertwining factors he believes add up to low adoption:
 
1. Disinterested Consumers:  The historical sentiment around any type of healthcare in the United States has been passive.  Those that perceive themselves to be in good health rarely seek preventive medicine.  So, why would someone bother to adopt some type of healthcare technology unless the doctor ordered it? 

2. Lack of a Viable Revenue/Payment Model: Over the past ten years that we’ve discussed mHealth as a game-changing technology, there was never really a clear answer as to who would be responsible for the price tag.  In an overwhelmingly fee-for-service-based market, mHealth simply didn’t have a home.

3. Lack of Clinical Evidence: In healthcare, we are nothing if not thorough.  Until something can be proven via clinical trial or pilot, it is worthless – and therefore unfunded.  A common occurrence in any emerging field is a solution in search of a problem.  Indeed, mHealth suffers from this a great deal. 

4. Disruptive Workflows: “Disruptive innovations” is actually considered to be a good thing these days (albeit overused to a point), but try walking into a hospital and telling a clinician you’re going to disrupt their workflow with innovation.  You’ll be handed a discharge summary and shown the door. 

Despite these four barriers, Brandt sees mHealth adoption increasing in the US: “If a healthcare organization can overcome these four hurdles, mHealth will become a viable tool.  It is important to note, however, this will not happen overnight.  There is much political, administrative and organizational change that must take place before patients and providers can truly leverage mHealth technology.  However, given some recent milestones in consumer sentiment, regulatory intervention, positive trial outcomes, and adoption patterns, there is hope for the proliferation of mHealth in America. ”

Be sure to read the full article hear to get all of Brandt’s great insight!

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