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Why Smartphones May Be the Best Business Opportunity in Healthcare

Pathologists take note: 80% of physicians will be using mobile technology by 2012

Meet “mHealth!” That’s the new term to describe how mobile devices are used in the delivery of healthcare to patients. Many clinical laboratories and pathology groups already have laboratory informatics solutions that support how their client physicians use mHealth solutions in patient care.

Experts predict that Smartphones will dominate mobile healthcare (mHealth) in just a few short years. The enabling tools will be mobile applications (apps) that monitor such conditions as diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and asthma. Smart phones will also be used to order medical laboratory tests and access clinical laboratory test data.

Mobile health monitoring apps can track patients’ vitals signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and breathe rate and share that information with their physicians. (Photo by Natasha Lomas/silicon.com. Sourced from ZDNet.com.)

Pathologists and clinical laboratories considering investing in Smartphones and other mobile devices will be interested in the results of recent survey that show a marked increase in the number of Smartphone purchases just since last year. Of even greater interest are the significant reasons why physicians say they want to use them.

mHealth Is a Rapidly Maturing Market

Some 231 healthcare companies covering the entire industry participated in the survey. The survey results were published in a 20-page report, titled “Global mHealth Market Report 2010-2015.” They included:

Mobile research specialists research2guidance conducted the survey, which yielded some interesting results. According to the Berlin, Germany-based researchers:

  • “Nearly 80% of respondents see diabetes as the therapeutic area with the highest business potential,”
  • “Almost 70% of survey participants agree that app developers and agencies will be the main players in the market,”
  • “Smartphone penetration is seen as the main driver for mHealth by 63% of respondents,”
  • “Lack of standardization (50%), regulation (49%) and market transparency (49%) are the main barriers facing mHealth,”
  • “Doctors and hospitals are seen as the best distribution channel for mHealth apps by 2015,”
  • “Android and iOS will be preferred mobile platforms for mHealth solutions.” 

Multiple Surveys Reach Similar Conclusions about Use of Mobile Devices

Last year’s survey conducted by Manhattan Research, which Dark Daily reported in “Pathology Groups and Clinical Labs Prepare to Deliver Test Results to Smart Phones” found that physician usage of the Internet and mobile healthcare devices is “maturing” and that by 2012, more than 80% of physicians will be performing “complex functions” such as clinical and administrative duties, online rather than offline, and that professionals’ social networking sites will become a strong resource of content and services for physicians.

In addition, according to an issue brief published by Washington, D.C.-based Deloitte Center for Health Solution, titled “The Mobile Personal Health Record: Technology-enabled self-care,” mobile apps are being developed that enable healthcare consumers who use Smartphones and other mobile technologies to practice “self-care,” and truly collaborate with their physicians in their treatment and monitoring of chronic diseases, such as diabetes. The results of these “self-exams” would almost certainly need to be sent and received electronically by a pathologist to be examined and diagnosed.

Clinical Laboratory Test Orders and Laboratory Test Data Reports

Since as far back as 2007, Dark Daily has covered the growing number of physicians, clinical laboratories, anatomic pathology groups, and healthcare organizations using mobile handheld technology in healthcare. Since then, vendors, healthcare organizations and research groups have conducted numerous studies to find what advantages, if any, healthcare providers would have using mobile devices to augment their diagnostic skills at the point of care (POC).

The conclusion most often reached, and one the federal government embraced by providing $25.8 billion in funds to promote health information technology (HIT), including wireless technologies, in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is that mobile technologies can greatly improve patient safety by making physician diagnoses more accurate, as well as lowering the cost of healthcare by increasing the rate of appropriate lab tests ordered and performed.

All this reinforces the urgency that clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups should embrace mobile technology now, so they will be viable resources for those physicians who will soon rely on mobile technology to provide the best care—and that includes ordering clinical laboratory tests and viewing lab test data from their Smartphones and other mobile devices.

—Michael McBride

 

Related Information:

Survey: Smartphones will ‘dominate’ healthcare by 2015

Tech-Savvy Doctors Are Putting Smartphones and iPads to Work in their Medical Practice

Spectrum Laboratory Network Now Offers Wireless Access to Lab Test Data

Global mHealth Developer Survey (sample pages)

Smartphone App Market Reached More Than $2.2 Billion In The First Half Of 2010

Augmented reality and healthcare—Qualcomm’s mobile future

The Future of Physician Media

Pathology Groups and Clinical Labs Prepare to Deliver Test Results to Smart Phones

The Mobile Personal Health Record: Technology-enabled self-care

Whitepaper: mHealth Survey Summary

3 Responses to “Why Smartphones May Be the Best Business Opportunity in Healthcare”

  1. Doug Mitchell, MD says:

    Could enthusiasm for this technology be dampened in light of the issue you reported more recently (2/16/11), about “Cyber-Attacks against Internet-Enabled Medical Devices”?

  2. Robert Gill says:

    Already have medical information for an emergency on a smart telephone using IOS and Android platforms by using transfer as a flash drive to place ,edical emergency information on the phone, Several vehicle manufacturers will soon have the ability to send the information to emergency responders via SMS text

  3. google says:

    and the third column down are your ‘C’ ad versions. The most obvious of challenges comes
    with the decrease in ranking opportunity. Abb – Vie is
    best known for marketing Humira, the top-selling treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

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