Mobile Health technology in Healthcare Industry

mHealth technology in Healthcare Industry

The explosive growth of mobile communications over the last decade, mobile devices has become more a part of our lives rather than a different entity. The advent of smart devices has created a whole new landscape of engaged communities – communities that collaborate, communicate and access critical information in real time to make informed decisions.

It is estimated that, in the year 2011, the number of Smart devices (Smart phones + Tablets) shipped will overtake the number of PC (Desktops + Laptops). This growth of smart devices adoption is rapidly changing the daily business of various industries including Healthcare. With the willingness of Healthcare Providers, Administrators and Patients to adopt mobile technology, Mobile Health (or mHealth) is one segment which is expected to grow in the near future.

mHealth solutions are perfectly suited for Healthcare providers including the Government considering the acute shortage of healthcare workers in remote locations and limited financial resources to support healthcare infrastructure in those areas.

What is mHealth?

mHealth or mobile health is a term that is used to indicate the use of solutions on Mobile devices in conjunction with Wireless networks for Medical care. It is important to understand that mHealth solutions are extensions of Telemedicine and TeleHealth Solutions.

Broadly speaking, mHealth solutions are built by either one or a conglomeration of the following:

1. Applications (Clinical/Institutional, Consumer-focused, and content based).

2. Devices (Mobile devices such as Mobile phones, Smart Phones, Tablets, medical devices etc)

3. Infrastructure (both Wireless and supporting wire-line and network services).

4. The components that make mHealth

mHealth Components

Business Imperatives

As mentioned above, mHealth is a different way in which healthcare services can be extended to a wider consumer base. While it is important to know what technology is it is more important to understand the impact it can create. Let us examine some of the business drivers

Mobile Penetration

The primary attribute of mHealth solutions is obviously mobile technology. Over the last few years, there has been phenomenal growth in the number of mobile subscribers especially in the developing countries.

According to the latest report released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI),

1. India has 538.38 million Urban Subscribers while 267.74 million Rural subscribers.

2. The mobile growth in rural areas is higher at 3.07% as compared to urban which was about 2.06% in January 2011.

3. The share of Urban Subscriber has declined to 66.79% from 67% where as share of Rural Subscribers has increased from 33% to 33.21%.

4. The overall Tele-density in India is 67.67 percent

5. About 71% of India's mobile subscribers are active.

According to a study, India to have 400-million 3G connection by 2015

Mobile Penetration

Smart Mobile Devices

The next major business driver is the strong and evolving growth of Smart devices (Smart phones and Tablets). The way in which Healthcare is being delivered to consumers and providers is changing at a rapid pace. It is important to understand the ecosystem to appreciate the necessity for adoption of these smart devices

According to the October 2010 report by The Nielsen Company, the Smartphone market share was about 30% of the total share.

In another report from research2guidance, the mHealth market is expected to grow to a staggering 500 million consumers and these numbers are just for the smart applications on these devices.

According to the TOP MOBILE INTERNET TRENDS report by Matt Murphy / Mary Meeker – Feb 2011, the iPad sales over the first three quarters has surpassed the sales of iPhone and iPod.

Growth of Smart Devices

mHealth Applications

The last business driver is the growth of applications on these smart devices.

According to report by industry firm Canalys Google's Android is now world's leading smart phone platform. Shipments of Android-based smart phones reached 32.9 million in Q4 of 2010. while devices running Nokia's Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million at 2nd place and Apple at 3rd with 16.2 million shipments.

Worldwide smart phone market

Applications in Healthcare today

The number of apps has increased more than 150% on Android and 140% on the Blackberry in the past year. According to Mobile Health News, more than 4,200 healthcare apps are on the Apple platform and Android users have access to about 500.

Ozg Healthcare Project Consultant

Ozg Consulting (P) Limited


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