Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth

Opportunities and challenges of mobile health from patients, payers and providers

Mobile technology has long been viewed as an innovation with much potential to transform the healthcare industry and address long-standing issues. Yet, there is little understanding of how to harness its power or develop business models that work.

This is why we've released an in-depth report, conducted for PwC Global Healthcare by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Emerging mHealth: Paths for Growth. It examines the development of mHealth in ten countries (five developed and five emerging) and the role that various stakeholders from healthcare payers to physicians and patients can play in its development.

These insights will help the industry understand its evolution and how it will transform healthcare as we know it today.

Key insights include:

  • Consumer behaviour - their expectations and preferences, and how mHealth can drive change
  • Ingredients for successful mHealth business models
  • The impact of mobile technology, and why it will become one of the most dominant models of delivery in healthcare.

In essence, we see the growing pervasiveness of technology enabling the emergence of a new, more patient centric healthcare value chain. The distinction between traditional healthcare and mHealth will dissolve as consumers demand a seamless healthcare experience dominated by mobile applications, devices, access, tools and services. As a result, conventional business models, which typically place consumers at the periphery, may soon no longer apply.

What does this mean for New Zealand?

mHealth presents opportunities as well as challenges for our country.  It is changing the way people manage their lives. Patients want more convenient provision of healthcare and they also want greater control in how and where they access care:

  • Some clinicians working in hospitals and primary care are embracing mobile technology by using smart phone applications (Medscape and MobileMIM, Medical Calculator, Colour test and ECG guide) to aid in diagnosis.
  • Some patients are self-monitoring via downloading applications and buying devices online in a quest to “assist” clinicians with diagnosis.
  • Some clinicians are offering e-consultations (reducing the need for face to face consultations).