mHealth 2.0 dependent on collaborative strategies

Mobile healthcare technology innovation, adoption and its ultimate impact as a valuable equation for patients, providers and payers relies on a collaborative approach from application development to user involvement, reveals research funded by Hannover Medical School in Germany.

The report, "mHealth 2.0: Experiences, Possibilities, and Perspectives," explores in detail the evolution of mHealth tools, examining potential and providing insight from various stakeholder perspectives.

"Undoubtedly, the use of mobile technologies in a medical context is highly attractive for patients, doctors and administrative staff, as well as researchers, but in part for different reasons," according to the study's authors, who list a wide range of aspects that demand attention and evaluation, from user needs and wants to privacy and security of data. "If mHealth technologies and applications are to be widely adopted, vendors must respect all these requirements. ... Hence, interdisciplinary alliances and collaborative strategies are vital for achieving sustainable growth in the field."

The study isn't the lone research effort focused on figuring out how mobile technology needs to evolve to meet stakeholder needs. A recent Deloitte report identified people, places, payment and purpose as the four critical dimensions necessary for mobile healthcare to attain its full potential.

What's more, a recent Pew report noted that mobile healthcare devices and apps will play a starring role in the Internet of Things. As of last year, there were 13 billion Internet-connected devices, a figure projected to hit 50 billion by 2020. Bill Crounse, senior director of worldwide health at Microsoft, envisions mHealth technology 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.

The Hannover research provides evidence, experiences and prognosis in the market from medical, technology, regulatory and psychological perspectives. It was developed to provide a wider scope for understanding the content of mHealth and "evolved to be an interesting learning process for all contributors," the authors--from Germany, Israel, Austria and the U.S.--said.

Before a practice involved in mHealth can scale up, the authors said, there are some hurdles to clear, including intellectual capabilities of users and the digital divide still taking place in society.

"All stakeholders involved have high hopes that this technology may improve healthcare," the authors wrote. "In addition, new concepts are required to assess the efficacy and efficiency of interventions. With respect to development, more emphasis must be placed on context analysis to identify what generic functions of mobile information technology best meet the needs of stakeholders involved."

For more information:
- read the study

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