News Feature | February 24, 2015

Mobile's Impact On Healthcare

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Mobile Application Lifecycle Management

Mobile Technology can ‘profoundly reshape the healthcare industry.’

A study published by the Economist Intelligence Unit has found mobile technology has the potential to profoundly reshape the healthcare industry, altering how care is delivered and received.

Power To the Patient: How Mobile Technology is Transforming Healthcare surveyed 144 industry leaders in public and private healthcare, biotech, pharma, and medical devices to examine the impact of mobile technology across the international healthcare environment. According to the findings, physicians in both public and private healthcare anticipate mobile health will give individuals the power to be more proactive in their own healthcare decisions.

The study found 64 percent of healthcare execs feel mobile health could result in dramatically improved outcomes by providing patients with greater access to medical information, and 79 percent of healthcare professionals report that mobile technologies are now providing education and information.

And the opportunities are not limited to healthcare providers. Digital health technologies also provide pharmaceutical companies with “a clear opportunity to play a greater role in delivering a better experience for patients, improving clinical outcomes, and reducing the total cost of care,” according to a recent report from Strategy&.

Half of those surveyed predicted that, within five years, mobile health will allow patients to be more proactive in their own healthcare and treatment, although 49 percent also believe concerns regarding privacy could pose obstacles for adoption, with 51 percent citing data privacy risks as the largest worry.

Robert B. McCray, president and CEO of the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliances, stated in the report, “If people won’t use the technology because of data breaches, we run the risk of losing the benefits of these technologies.”

An infographic accompanying the report stated notes and Arizona trial found mobile technologies tracking weight, blood pressure, and heart rate were used to treat patients in rural communities, saving $90,000 per patient in reduced hospital stays. The study further found, “Mobile health is changing healthcare and could transform it by acting as a conduit for personalized advice, information, and even treatment – if concerns about privacy and security are addressed.”

Ultimately, the study concludes, “If mobile devices enable people to monitor their vital signs, conduct tests, diagnose diseases at home, and communicate remotely with their doctors, then much of the current health infrastructure in developed countries become potentially unnecessary. At the very least, such a shift would remove pressure form overloaded hospitals and clinics. Meanwhile, the need for routine doctor visits plunges. Hospitals might be needed only for the acutely ill and for operations or even, as Scripp’s Dr. Eric Topol suggests, be ‘on their way out over time.’”