Experts: Holy Grail ahead in mHealth but hurdles remain

The evolution of mHealth apps and devices is bringing a bucketful of benefits to consumers, patients, providers and payers, as one notable industry expert recently related. But the bounty comes with hurdles and huge challenges, such as needed data security investment, new privacy regulations and how to push mHealth past the point of being about tools and into the realm of a strategic platform.

"We are starting to see a real turning point in mHealth," Harry Greenspun, a senior advisor at the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, recently told Federal News Radio. "To see the future of mobile healthcare we have to look at what other industries are doing today." 

According to Greenspun, the healthcare industry is lagging behind other industries--such as retail--in its use of mobile technology.

"We have been very focused on healthcare information," he said, and need to also focus on the tremendous amount of data unrelated to 'healthcare' but which plays into healthcare prevention, treatment and diagnostics such as a consumer's fast food intake, what they buy, how they spend their day.

Consumers and health industry stakeholders continue to view mHealth tools as a way to improve care, treatment and diagnosis, as well as wellness and preventative health programs. Consumers are embracing mHealth smartwatches and other mHealth wearables and are more than willing to share personal data--especially if done anonymously--for mHealth purposes.

"There is opportunity to expand the notion of primary care," Greenspun said.

That opportunity, given the increasing advancement in wearable mHealth tech is getting bigger every day, according to Bill Crounse, senior director of worldwide health at Microsoft. Crounse, in a recent interview, said he envisions tech that someday will alert consumers about looming health issues, similar to automotive tech that alerts drivers about an internal car engine issue but with a human condition focus.

"That's the Holy Grail," Crounse said, acknowledging current issues of regulatory concerns, data integration and tech interoperability will need to be tackled and solved in order to make it happen.

For more information:
- listen to Greenspun's interview
- watch Crounse's interview

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