Completing the Puzzle – Mobile Survey Results Shape the Direction of mHealth

There have been a few excellent surveys regarding mHealth.  One report commissioned by PwC and published in 2012, was a combination of two separate surveys conducted in Brazil, Denmark, the UK, the USA, Turkey, Germany, India, China, South Africa, and Spain. One survey was directed at 1027 patients of various backgrounds. The second survey targeted physicians and payer executives. Some takeaways from this report are impressive. One half of patients and 60% of physicians and payer executives felt that mobile health technology adoption is inevitable in the near future and patients in addition, believe that mHealth will positively affect convenience, cost and quality of care. One  interesting contrast seen in the surveys point to different viewpoints of patient empowerment with patients viewing mHealth as a way to increase their power over their health, while doctors expressed a resistance to this loss of control over patients.  With regards to geography, the report states that emerging markets are much more receptive to mHealth than developed countries. More physicians there offer mHealth technologies and more payers reimburse for it (I have previously described why payers are critical to mHealth adoption).

Another report published in 2012 by Ruder Finn found that one in three consumers of all ages want their providers to have access to remote health monitoring data. The study “found that 40% of mature adults (55 and older) listed remote monitoring devices as one of the top tools that would help healthcare professionals verse 31% of millennials”, though interestingly, 36% of these ‘seniors’ would rather speak with their physician in person versus 19% of millenials.

While these surveys are important as they furnish us with a perspective on the market landscape, they do not answer the questions as to what is actually needed and how to best prioritize and implement mobile health technologies. These issues are critical to technology developers, payers, providers, and industry analysts.  A recent survey of HIMSS members, I believe, is the most ambitious, practical, and relevant collection of market data from the’ inside’ of the healthcare enterprise.  This data will compliment the information furnished in the surveys mentioned previously, and complete the strategic puzzle.

The 2013 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey results will be announced at the 2014 HIMSS Annual Conference. Areas of the survey mirror the sections of the mHIMSS Roadmap which include: New Care Models, Technology, ROI/Payment, Legal and Policy, Standards and Interoperability, and Privacy and Security.  Issues addressed include prioritization of mobile technology, maturity of the technology environment, impact of the technology on patient care, integration of devices with EHRs, mobile app development strategies, and many others. The survey population was noted to be more diverse than in past HIMSS surveys. Mobile device technology deployment is seen as an important part of the healthcare enterprise by most respondents.

There are many potential benefits of the survey. It provides insight into what similar stakeholder HIMSS members are presently implementing and strategizing for the future. It might serve as crucial information for developers to determine best how to present their technology into the healthcare enterprise itself. The survey can be seen as a type of mini premarketing consulting project in this regard. Investors and financial analysts can glean valuable information about rates of adoption and relative areas of interest by customers. I look forward to being a part of the announcement of the survey’s results. There will be much to digest and discuss.


About davidleescher

David Lee Scher, MD is Founder and Director at DLS HEALTHCARE CONSULTING, LLC, which specializes in advising digital health technology companies, their partners, investors, and clients. As a cardiac electrophysiologist and pioneer adopter of remote patient monitoring, he understood early on the challenges that the culture and landscape of healthcare present to the development and adoption of digital technologies. He is a well-respected thought leader in mobile and other digital health technologies. Scher lectures worldwide on relevant industry topics including the role of tech in Pharma, patient advocacy, standards for development and adoption, and impact on patients and healthcare systems from clinical, risk management, operational and marketing standpoints. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine.
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