What are the four dimensions critical to effective mHealth?

People, places, payment and purpose are the four critical dimensions necessary for mobile healthcare to attain its full potential, according to a new Deloitte report.

"The key to the four dimensions is to be sure all are considered, which is associated with greater success and return on investment," Henry Greenspun (pictured), senior advisor for Deloitte, told FierceMobileHealthcare. "Typically, when mHealth programs fail, it is often the result of one of the dimensions being overlooked."

Greenspun also recently discussed mHealth strategies in a radio broadcast and the challenges ahead, including the need for more investment in data security and new privacy regulations. A recent Compass study revealed regulatory and privacy issues are also looming hurdles.

The report, which Greenspun and Deloitte had been crafting since at least January, breaks down the four 'P' segments as follows:

  • People: An understanding of demographics such as age, gender and income play into customization and targeting of users' mHealth experiences.
  • Places: The infrastructure needs (local networks, download speeds and bandwidth capacity) are viewed as a "tipping point" for mHealth adoption.
  • Payment: The quest to find more efficient ways to improve care while increasing quality.
  • Purpose: Fitness, wellness, care provision, disease management and complex case management but the approach has to fit the condition.

Of those four Greenspun called payment the biggest hurdle.

"Lots of excellent technologies that could improve access or value have failed to get widely adopted because they did not align with our payment system," he told FierceMobileHealthcare.

Greenspun added that the adoption of telehealth mirrors the adoption of mHealth solutions.

"[Telehealth] has been around since the 1920s, yet despite the obvious benefits it could bring, adoption has been slow largely because physicians would not be reimbursed for such visits," he said. "The good news is that the transition toward value-based reimbursement opens the door for existing and future innovations."

The study noted that the platform needed for mHealth exists and resides in consumers' hands.

"What remains to be firmly established is proven evidence of mobile's sustainable value to the health care industry," the report stated.

For more information:
- download the report (.pdf)