Many mHealth programs lack focus, direction

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

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.

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