What does the future hold for mHealth?
The mHealth (mobile health) market is booming and we’re seeing a real shift away from it being perceived as a rather unusual, niche technology – it’s now a well understood, integrated solution with clear use-cases and benefits across sectors.
Mhealth has historically tended to lag behind other sectors – primarily due to the barriers to entry created by the high requirement for testing and more stringent legislation which companies operating in healthcare face. Nonetheless, we are seeing a huge uptake in technologies from public health services and pharmaceuticals.
The global mhealth market is due to grow to USD $58 billion by 2020. Alongside this growth, there has been a real increase in adoption and innovation in the sector. The last five years have been particularly vibrant in terms of innovation. Companies are bringing much more targeted solutions to market that address specific issues and slot into wider healthcare ecosystems with growth in interdependent digital and companion mhealth solutions.
Integrated Systems are Vital
The market for consumerisation of healthcare is still key but bigger integrated systems that can operate and work across the health eco-system are a huge growth area. It is no longer enough to provide a standalone product, mhealth now needs to be integrated and add value across platforms.
These new connected solutions need to fit into the care pathway and aim to address more holistic challenges affecting people across the wider eco-system. Using data more effectively to provide useful insights and share learnings across the care pathway is key. We are seeing significant adoption and demand for this kind of integrated approach across the healthcare sector – from hospital settings, to pharma and across the supply chain.
In terms of the global market, there is a growing scope for being able to provide connected technologies at the point of care (POC). Interestingly, because they are not fighting an incumbent system, developing countries have been able to leapfrog their more developed counterparts and adopt largescale rollout of connected tech solutions. This is having a hugely positive impact.
In tandem with technological advances, the cost of connected solutions has also fallen significantly – creating cheaper, more effective solutions.
Human relationships and interaction are still at the heart of healthcare and technology provides an opportunity to improve and enhance relationships and interactions. Where I see technology really impacting our healthcare systems, is the potential it offers to drive real efficiencies and improve interactions – enabling easier access to testing and creating opportunities for clinicians to enhance the services they can provide from the POC.
However, it is less about a standalone, superstar products, and more about how solutions can slot into and improve wider systems – providing better evidence, better accuracy, tighter regulation, and more data.
mHealth will Transform the Patient Experience in the Next Decade
Patients and consumers are comfortable with technology and now expect similar levels of sophistication from their healthcare solutions. Diabetes is a great example of how end-user requirements are driving change. It’s an area of healthcare that has experienced huge transformation – self-testing has really revamped the patient experience.
Mhealth solutions have enabled people to proactively and effectively manage their own conditions – vastly improving their quality of life.
This trend for self-care by effectively utilising digital technologies to support and enable people to manage their own conditions is a key NHS priority for the next ten years, so we’re going to see real growth in this area.
Digital therapeutics is another huge area of innovation – the pre-diabetes solutions on the market for example are helping to flag key symptoms and reduce the occurrence of diabetes.
Mental health is also a big growth area where mhealth can have a significant impact. Companies are increasingly exploring solutions in this area that tie into the broader care pathways, help to fill in the gaps and support wider innovation and development.
Creating effective eco-systems to monitor and manage conditions is key. Joined-up platforms that enable data to be captured and shared can ensure that information is passed between and fed through systems to create optimum consumer-focused solutions that benefit patients and care providers.
New Care Models are on the Horizon
Connected rapid diagnostics are helping to change the way healthcare systems operate and establish new care models. This has the potential to reduce admissions and re-admissions, increasing patient satisfaction and meeting demand.
Social care and care in the community will benefit hugely from POCT. Improving data that hospitals have in their own organisations and enabling more effective use of that data is an important outcome.
More personalised care and enabling people to self-manage their conditions will also have a hugely positive impact. More data as a result of more regular home POCT testing will help to create better results for patients – creating better insight, understanding and ultimately, delivering better care.
We hope you enjoyed our guest blog from the editor of the mHealth Journal. If you’d like to learn more about mhealth disruption, do not hesitate to contact us.