mHealth could save Europe billions in health costs

Over the next four years, the European Union could realize cost savings of almost 100 billion euros and add 93 billion euros in gross domestic product by embracing mobile health solutions, based on results from a GSMA report.

An executive summary of the report, commissioned by the GSMA and written by PricewaterhouseCoopers, states that mHealth can limit the healthcare and economic burden by making chronic care more effective and healthcare resources more efficient. According to the report, mHealth in Europe could reduce care costs for chronic conditions by 30 to 35 percent through improved treatment compliance and remote patient monitoring. In addition, by using mHealth, the report asserts that 185 million patients across the EU can be treated more effectively, preventing 589,000 incidences of chronic diseases.

"The growing prevalence of chronic diseases, the relatively high cost of healthcare and an aging population means many countries in the EU are experiencing a healthcare resource crisis that mobile technology can help relieve," said Michael O'Hara, GSMA's Chief Marketing Officer, in a written statement. "Better access to healthcare services and the cost efficiencies driven by mHealth will help EU economies deliver sustainable and effective healthcare systems."

The report warns that four key adoption barriers--regulatory, economic, structural and technological--could limit the benefits of mHealth. GSMA warns that mHealth's potential in the EU could be limited to less than 10 percent in 2017 unless regulators and payers take initiatives to drive adoption. 

The EU isn't the only place that stands to benefit from mHealth adoption. Mobile technology will transform the healthcare industry in the U.S. with increased productivity gains saving $305 billion over the next 10 years, according to a recent report by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The savings will come from reduced travel time, better logistics, faster decision-making and improved communications, among other improvements.

The report cites a 2012 Brookings Institution study predicting that remote monitoring technologies will save nearly $200 billion by managing chronic diseases in the U.S. over the next 25 years. Deloitte points out other estimates that suggest remote monitoring can reduce the costs for caring for the elderly in rural areas by allowing seniors to live independently and spend more time at home, while reducing the need for face to-face medical consultations, by 25 percent.

Cutting healthcare costs is imperative, with healthcare consuming 18 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, mHealth is a "key element" of the healthcare industry's response to the "market's quest for value," concludes the Deloitte report.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- read the report's executive summary