Many mHealth programs lack focus, direction

Image removed.Healthcare organizations are forging ahead with mobile health initiatives, but they don't necessarily have a clear game plan for the programs.

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In a recent survey, health IT consulting firm Medullan asked more than 100 healthcare provider professionals to name the top driver for their organization's mHealth initiative. The top answer? "No driver."

Nearly a quarter are pursuing an mHealth initiative without a specific driver.

Respondents recognize the situation is not ideal: The number one barrier to achieving mHealth objectives is no clear strategy or objective, according to the survey. Lack of leadership for the initiative came in a close second.

Among the 76 percent of respondents that did have a clear strategy, most cited the biggest drivers increased member, customer and/or patient engagement, followed by pressure to compete with other organizations.

Meanwhile, as FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, insurers' mHealth programs are becoming increasing sophisticated--the survey reflects that.

In the Medullan survey, 100 percent of payer respondents said they do have a driver for their initiatives; most said their mHealth programs were driven by a desire to improve care and, as a result, lower costs.

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Mobile platforms have "great potential to empower members to become more involved in their care," Christine Paige, senior vice president of marketing and Internet services for the Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, said in a recent FierceHealthPayer eBook, "Payer Strategies for Engaging Members." 

"We were surprised that so many organizations would undertake mHealth initiatives without a clear driver," Medullan CEO Ahmed Albaiti said in a statement. "While we believe strongly in the value of mHealth initiatives, no driver and no objectives is a recipe for disaster. The overall impression we got from the survey results is that there is a lot of activity around mHealth, but many companies are spinning their wheels and need some focus."

To learn more:
- access an executive summary of the survey (sign-up required)
- read the Medullan announcement