Docs, patients disagree over mHealth's future

Despite the continued excitement and hype over mobile healthcare, a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows an audience--patients and physicians--divided over how ready they are for mHealth advancements.

One striking contrast: Nearly 60 percent of consumers using mHealth services say they've already replaced some visits to doctors or nurses due to mobile interventions. But about the same number of physicians and payers (64 percent) say there aren't enough proven business models for them to dive deeply into mHealth.   

Consumers are definitely the more optimistic of the two sides. Nearly one half say mHealth will improve convenience (46 percent), cost (52 percent) and quality (48 percent) of healthcare in the next three years, according to an article in WirelessWeek.

On the flip side, fewer than one-third (27 percent) of doctors say they encourage patients to use health apps, and 13 percent actively discourage it. One big reason: Forty-two percent of doctors say they worry they are losing control, and patients will become too independent as a result of health apps and mobile technologies, the report explains.    

Another big reason physicians are hesitant to employ health apps is the reimbursement structure, which doesn't repay physicians for using mHealth to keep patients well or avoid exacerbations or admissions, the report shows.

One interesting finding: The toughest market for mHealth adoption may be in the U.S. and other developed nations, the report finds. In the developing world, where healthcare resources are far scarcer, physicians see mHealth as allowing them to reach more patients. As a result, they're far less concerned about mobile devices putting more distance between clinicians and patients.

To learn more:
- read the PwC report
- dig into WirelessWeek's article