Mobile Health Devices: Americans Are Willing to Pay for Convenience

PricewaterhouseCoopers finds that 40 percent of Americans would pay for a mobile device to send health data to doctors. Three in 10 Americans would use the telehealth features.

A new report by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that 40 percent of Americans would pay for a mobile device to keep track of their vital signs and send the data remotely to their doctor.

PwC made the presentation called "Healthcare Unwired" on Sept. 8 at the mHealth Initiative conference in San Diego. The consulting firm also found that the still developing mobile health care industry could be worth $7.7 billion to $43 billion.

In addition, PwC found that three in 10 Americans are willing to use their mobile phone to track and monitor their health and send the information wirelessly to their doctor.

"Companies that will be well positioned competitively are those than can integrate mobile health into health care delivery and create value in the health system by helping doctors and their patients better manage health and wellness through mass personalization," Daniel Garrett, leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers' health information technology practice, said in a statement.

PwC interviewed 2,000 consumers and 1,000 physicians on their remote mobile health preferences.

The survey found that 31 percent of consumers would be willing to have an application on their smartphone to track their health.

Meanwhile, 40 percent said they'd pay a monthly fee to send and receive health-related texts, including prescription notices or reminders to access their personal health records. Men were twice as likely as women to use this service.

Of the consumers surveyed, 40 percent would be open to paying for a device on a monthly subscription plan to remotely send health data such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight to their physician.

Meanwhile, 88 percent of physicians would like to see patients track their vital data at home.

The PwC study follows a recent report by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions describing the combination of electronic medical records and mobile devices as the "killer app" that will affect the health care industry.

"There are significant opportunities for physicians, hospitals, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to market and differentiate themselves using mobile health," Garrett said.

In another study, Spyglass Consulting reported on July 23 that 94 percent of physicians were using smartphones but 78 percent struggled with timely communication among colleagues.