News Feature | February 13, 2015

mHealth Growth Stunted By Privacy Concerns

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Virtual Telehealth Doctor

According to an Economist poll of healthcare leaders, the biggest barrier to mHealth adoption is data privacy concerns.

A poll by The Economist asked healthcare leaders their views on the world of mHealth and found that, while they were optimistic about the future of mobile, there were several barriers to its adoption. 

Key findings of the study include:

  • 64 percent of healthcare executives say mobile health could dramatically improve outcomes by giving people greater access to medical information
  • 79 percent of healthcare professionals say that mobile technologies are providing education and information
  • in five years, 50 percent predict that mobile health will enable patients to participate more proactively in their own care
  • however, nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents think consumer wariness about privacy violations could be a stumbling block for adoption, while just over half (51 percent) say data privacy risks are their biggest concern 

MobiHealth News reports data privacy was also a top concern of consumers, with 52 percent of respondents showing concern that their data would be misinterpreted. In addition to privacy concerns, respondents also cited the “institutional bias and conservatism within the healthcare establishment”, i.e. the inherent risk-averse nature of healthcare (44 percent). Only 19 percent of respondents put regulatory barriers to innovation in their top three concerns. 

According to HIT Consultant, other concerns include the fear that “consumers and/or patients are not used to the idea of tech-based health services” (54 percent), and that “the technologies are too complicated,” especially for the ill or elderly (44 percent). 

The study also found that while now, most mobile applications help patients educate themselves about their health and wellbeing (79 percent), in five years, apps are expected to take on a different role. Half of all respondents said they expect apps to enable patients to proactively participate in their own care, and lower costs.