Report: mHealth creates business opportunities for companies‏

A new report from Forrester Research examines how mobile healthcare has changed consumer behavior, and how the resulting data on this behavior can totally transform a firm's relationship with their customers. Unfortunately, according to the report, the ability to use data in real time to drive business decisions currently eludes the majority of firms. 

However, eBusiness professionals should not panic, states Forrester. Instead, they should begin to take steps to capitalize on the new opportunities that data affords.

"[We] interviewed more than 40 innovative companies and thought leaders driving this revolution in healthcare and wellness to understand the cutting edge of mobile engagement," writes Forrester analyst Julie Ask. "This report captures three lessons from the mobile health (mHealth) avant-garde and turns them into action for eBusiness pros."

  • Sensor innovation in mHealth spurs a new "data tsunami": The combination of mobile and sensor innovation allows the collection of data about our bodies that previously wasn't feasible due to cost, complexity or inconvenience.
  • Real-time insights drive better health decisions: The data becomes more interesting when it is aggregated, combined, trended and creatively crunched to offer new lessons. Accessing the interpretation in real time drives better decisions.
  • Engagement tactics build the final steps to healthier behavior: Data offers the foundation for insights that guide consumer decision-making, which in turn leads to better health and wellness. Consumers often need more than facts. 

Some of the successful examples the report touts: MyFitnessPal users have lost more than 100 million pounds; RunKeeper users have moved 783 million miles; Strava users have moved 1.4 billion kilometers and the Jawbone community has logged 35 million nights of sleep.

Today, the report recommends that eBusiness professionals buy a device, download an app and try it in order to "begin to internalize what it feels like to collect data, what features resonate, and where the friction lies." In one to two years, Forrester suggests that firms evolve their platform to access real-time data. And, in the next two to five years, the report recommends that eBusiness professionals adapt or build a mobile analytics solution.

Similarly, a report by research firm Cutting Edge Information advised companies to create more relevant content when developing mHealth apps by better understanding end users' current mobile trends. This is the first and most important step toward developing a comprehensive mHealth strategy, according to the study. By pursuing a "researched" objective, whether features, content or functionality, a company can add value to its brand.

Companies need to engage in active conversations with their target audiences. Incorporating the "voice" of the patient is crucial to elevating brands and differentiating them from the competition. However, as the study pointed out, an mHealth strategy is not solely focused on patient communication but to all end users, including physicians or other stakeholders.

To learn more:
- download the report