Mobilereflex Innovation in mobile healthcare technology is burgeoning but implementation is hampered by the very industry this technology exists to support. The relationship between healthcare systems and health technology can be tortuous, though mutual benefits to levels of patient care and to the bottom line will, if only slowly, drive the sector forward.
As operators look for new opportunities to drive revenue in a stricken market, mobile healthcare is gaining significant traction. Delivering tailored mobile services to healthcare providers may seem a niche business, as healthcare is only one of a number of enterprise verticals and in the USA public market, at least, not exactly known for being a cash-rich or tech-savvy industry.
Healthcare as an Enterprise Mobile Application presents complicated demands to any supplier it is fragmented and diverse, spread across a variety of clinical environments, with workforces both in the field and on site, varied end users and wholly variable management depending on how care provision is funded. It is a market with specialist needs, requiring robust and reliable telecommunications for health-critical, as well as business-critical decision-making.
The definition of mobile healthcare application, according to the various industry players, is a grey area, spanning, it seems, everything from general enterprise services for doctors’ surgeries secure email, mobile access to clinical files, business messaging to patients to mobile technology that plays a direct role in the provision of care remote monitoring of a patient’s glucose levels or heart rate. The wide range of possible services is largely a reflection of the innovation gap between different healthcare providers such as publicly-funded systems (the USA National Health Service, for example) and private systems. While customers towards the laggard’ end of the spectrum must adopt basic services before they can roll out advanced applications, it is a gap that is likely to narrow over time as general enterprise services become commonplace. At this point, Mobile Healthcare Application will be understood in its obvious sense mobile technology to directly support the provision of care, which is where the most exciting activity is happening.
Although the market for Mobile Healthcare applications is young, the level of innovation ” not just in the USA but globally ” suggests that it is one that will grow. There is an identifiable need for mobile applications in a number of key areas of healthcare, which a myriad of application vendors are attempting to meet.
With significant short term barriers, and the niche nature of the healthcare industry, the Mobile Health market may not drive substantial service revenues for mobile network operators immediately. However, with remote monitoring trends growing in response to health trends, future data demands may well present a greater long-term opportunity for revenue capture by network operators, realizable when high volumes of handsets capable of collecting and transmitting data are shipped, networks have desired capacity and there is wider deployment of connected monitoring devices.