ATA head: Mobile device innovation on horizon, but storm clouds also loom

While mobile devices serving as healthcare tools are an exciting promise looming on the horizon, according to Yulun Wang, Ph.D., president-elect of the American Telemedicine Association, there also are some dark clouds circling mHealth innovation, he believes.

"My biggest fear is that organizations will jump into the healthcare space with solution offerings that are not well thought through and which can put patients' lives and privacy in danger," Wang (pictured) tells mHealth News. "And that these actions will taint the entire industry and consequently slow positive progress."

The prime driver going forward for fostering adoption, Wang says, is the ability of mobile devices to provide greater data access to consumers and providers.

"MHealth will enable access to our healthcare system that was previously not possible," he says. "This eliminates the barrier of geographic distance, enabling a more frictionless healthcare delivery system with improved efficiency and cost."

Wang's fears of half-baked mHealth technology comes on the heels of two reports regarding the need for greater validation of emerging and current tools, as FierceMobileHealthcare has reported.

One such study, published late in December in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, notes that the vast number of mobile applications promising blood pressure and hypertension management capabilities lack validation and require greater oversight. Another mHealth tech segment--wearables--faces a similar challenge, according to Steven Steinhubl, digital medicine program director at Scripps Translational Science Institute.

Ultimately, Wang expects cutting-edge telemedicine delivery networks and integration of big data into such systems to enable automation in healthcare. The big data element, he explains, will provide healthcare professionals access to available state-of-the-art best practices.

"MHealth is going to be pushed by consumers, providers and payers, since all three constituents have the opportunity to gain with this new technology," Wang says. "MHealth has the ability to improve access to high-quality care, and to do so at a lower cost."

For more information:
- read the mHealth News interview

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