Delivery of healthcare service via mobile ‘inevitable’
Adoption of mobile technology in healthcare or mHealth is "inevitable" as its application is likely to improve the convenience, cost and the way customers communicate with their physicians, besides increasing access to healthcare.According to a new global study conducted for PwC Global Healthcare by the Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) roughly one-half of consumers in all markets and 60 per cent of consumers in India believe a widespread adoption of this technology is inevitable.
"mHealth is the future of healthcare, deeply integrated into delivery that will be better, faster, less expensive and far more customer-focused," David Levy, MD, Global Healthcare Leader, PwC, said.
He, however, added that despite demand and the obvious potential benefits of mHealth, rapid adoption is not yet occurring.
The survey that covered 10 countries: Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US said the pace of adoption is likely be led by emerging markets.
In emerging markets, consumers perceive mHealth as a way to increase access to healthcare while patients in developed markets see it as a way to improve convenience, cost and quality of healthcare.
"In younger, developing economies, healthcare is less constrained by healthcare infrastructure and entrenched interests. Consumers are more likely to use mobile devices and mHealth applications, and more payers are willing to cover the cost of mHealth services," PWC India Healthcare Leader Rana Mehta said.
Nearly half of consumers said they expect mHealth will change the way they manage chronic conditions, their medication and their overall health.
Six in ten consumers expect mHealth to change the way they seek information on health issues and 48 per cent expect it to change the way they communicate with physicians.
Interestingly, among consumers who already are using mHealth services, 59 per cent said they have replaced some visits to doctors or nurses.
The study found that physicians are more cautious than consumers in their outlook for mHealth.
Only 27 per cent of physicians encourage patients to use mHealth applications, while 13 per cent of physicians actually discourage it. Moreover, 42 per cent of doctors surveyed fear that mHealth will make patients too independent.
PwC, further noted that innovators seeking opportunities in mHealth, including telecommunications and technology companies, must work to overcome the barriers slowing widespread adoption of mHealth.