A new report by Pyramid Research reveals that 70 percent of respondents want access to m-health applications, even if they have to pay for it.
The mobile health market is growing substantially and will increase
threefold by 2012, presenting both challenges and opportunities for MNOs
(mobile network operators) and companies across the mobile technology spectrum,
according to a new report
by Pyramid Research.
M-health uses CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), GSM and WiFi smartphones as well as
medical devices such as blood glucose meters to transmit health information
over cellular networks.
"Health care solutions that are delivered via mobile technology are
creating a new frontier of innovation that is driving down costs, increasing
access and improving quality of care," Denise Culver, an analyst at large
at Pyramid, said in a statement.
In its report, "Health Check: Key Players in Healthcare,"
Pyramid highlights MNOs such as AT&T, BT, Orange and Telef??nica as
companies that will benefit in particular from the m-health boom.
"Technology and telecommunications providers are well positioned for
developing, extending and marketing m-health applications," Culver said.
"Many of these players already have established relationships with health
care providers and payers, and many benefit from large, global scale," she
With MNOs' understanding of how to distribute consumer devices, they'll make
up for health care companies' lack of experience in this area, according to
"MNOs can leverage m-health applications as part of an enterprise
vertical-differentiation strategy," she said. "They have the chance
to create m-health solutions that combine voice, messaging, data, security and
other current offerings, which will increase customer loyalty and create value-added
In addition to MNOs, manufacturers such as Apple, RIM and Ericsson, as well
as mobile health application providers such as CardioNet and Epocrates, will
benefit from increased interest in mobile apps, according to Culver.
On Nov. 16, Epocrates
acquired health app developer Modality to grow its software portfolio on
Hardware and software vendors that are likely to be increasingly active in
m-health include Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Oracle, Culver said.
With the growth of m-health will come organizational challenges, according
to Pyramid. The health care industry will need to adopt m-health applications
that reduce the cost of helping patients, quicken time to market and improve
One of the top
health care IT trends to watch in 2011, m-health has yet to become an
application class that m-health providers can monetize. In fact, MNOs will need
to charge per text message or per transaction, according to Shahid Shah, CEO
of IT consulting firm Netspective Communications and the Healthcare IT Guy blogger.
"The traditional ways of making money on software and telecom-per
message or minute charges-look like the only way right now," Shah told eWEEK.
"People understand m-health will work technically; now, how do we make
it pay for itself so the business and technology side can be tied together
going forward?" he added.
Despite the difficulties in making money on health apps, 70 percent of the people
Pyramid interviewed for its December 2010 survey want access to m-health and
are willing to pay for it.
Companies have been reluctant to invest in developing m-health services,
which involves teaching health care providers, patients and payers how to use
the services, and getting them reimbursed, Pyramid reports.
Countries such as India
and South Africa
have benefited from m-health in the past because landline and broadband
services are limited there.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.