Future of mobile healthcare could be mHealth-as-a-Service

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) when it comes to cloud computing is often talked about, but what about mobile healthcare-as-a-service (mHaaS)? In a recent contributed article published in PhysBizTech, John Sung Kim, CEO of San Francisco-based DoctorBase.com, makes the case that mHealth apps for medical provider organizations will soon evolve into app platforms whose functions can be "rented" as a cloud-based service instead of building them as "one-off" IT projects.

Sung Kim, who runs a mobile healthcare 2.0 company, believes the benefit of mHaaS is that it significantly decreases the costs and risks for medical provider organizations.

"Singularly built medical apps may suffice for certain tools such as drug reference information, but apps such as patient communications or mobile medical consultations require systems built on a multi-tenant architecture with the capability to scale and become extensible by third parties through application programming interfaces," states Sung Kim, adding that "mHaaS is not only coming--it's the only viable way our industry will grow."

According to the author, all one has to do is look at the cost and pricing structure of mHaaS versus building them internally as standalone apps. He estimates the total first year cost to provider organizations for in-house or outsourced application development for a single app to be $181,000, while the total first year cost with mHaaS falls significantly to $18,000 ($1,500 per month in subscription fees to access and deploy a cloud-based mHealth app as a rented service with 1,000 customers on its mHaaS platform).

"In the current landscape of mHealth applications launched by medical provider organizations, there is much anecdotal evidence that suggests most of these initiatives fail to achieve their originally stated performance and cost objectives," Sung Kim concludes. "Fortunately, the money and math add up quite nicely for those who can execute on the approaching mHaaS future."

In December, AT&T launched new cloud-based remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology that is delivered as SaaS from Ericsson. Part of AT&T's ForHealth suite of RPM services, the SaaS offering is designed to help doctors monitor their patients over video on a tablet connected to the Internet, providing coaching, reminders and health education to help better manage chronic diseases remotely without requiring a return hospital visit.

According to the company, one of the benefits of AT&T RPM SaaS is that patients can use Bluetooth-enabled devices to check their vitals daily, and send the data to a cloud-based system that healthcare providers can access through a secure portal. In addition, during scheduled appointments, physicians can communicate with their patients via video.

To learn more:
- read the article in PhysBizTech