mHealth, cloud computing to dominate healthcare in 2014

mHealth, cloud computing and the regulatory environments will be three hot topics in the global healthcare market in 2014 and beyond, according to results of a new survey announced by research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Based on a survey of 1,835 executives in more than 40 countries worldwide, 51 percent of those surveyed identified mHealth as the top trend, followed by cloud computing with 45 percent and regulatory environments with 44 percent.

The penetration prospects of mHealth technologies, the report finds, are significant in the following areas: wireless vital signs monitoring, location-aware telemonitoring systems and Bluetooth wireless technology-enabled health trackers.

While mHealth expansion has been fueled by consumer adoption of mobile technologies, Frost & Sullivan argues that "as more healthcare IT and patient monitoring tools are integrated, every hospital facility will eventually have to acquire a fully-enterprise wireless solution." Cloud computing is a key enabler for enterprise-wide solutions, the firm's survey results indicate. 

"Implementing cloud computing technologies appropriately will help healthcare providers improve the quality of medical services and the efficiency of operations, share information across geographic locations and manage expenditures," states the announcement.

According to Frost & Sullivan, cloud computing can be applied in a variety of ways, including data storage and data loss prevention, maintaining patient information records and authorized sharing of information.

Nevertheless, when it comes to cloud computing, a recent survey by technology vendor CDW found that security concerns about proprietary data and applications are among the reasons the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt cloud technology. Out of eight industries, healthcare ranked seventh in terms of cloud adoption, just ahead of state and local governments.

However, in a contributed article published in April 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. 

As for the regulatory environment, Frost & Sullivan's survey concluded that "recent healthcare reforms and policy initiatives across many countries have emphasized the importance of quality of care more than quantity" and that reimbursements may pose a major hurdle.

To learn more:
- read the announcement from Frost & Sullivan

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