Mobile health—the use of mobile applications and devices to deliver medical information, access or record data, or provide clinical services—has the potential to revolutionize patient care. From tracking fitness achievements to allowing real-time remote consultation services with physicians, mHealth gives patients and providers better access to essential health information.
The underlying drivers of mHealth adoption are strong. The rapidly increasing availability of mobile Internet and the widespread use of inexpensive delivery devices, such as smartphones and data sensors, provide a solid foundation for growth. At the same time, the trend toward value-based health care has the potential to reward mHealth solutions that deliver superior outcomes and lower costs and that measure the outcomes of other products, such as pharmaceuticals.
But a great deal of innovative thinking will be required by stakeholders at the intersection of health care and mobile technology to make this promise a reality on a broad scale. To date, only a few devices or apps have succeeded commercially in the launch phase—and it is still not clear whether these promising products will drive sustainable revenue growth in the long term. Companies face challenges in designing products that easily fit into the user’s routine, that provide a benefit for which key stakeholders are willing to pay, and that can be integrated within the existing health-care infrastructure. Companies that succeed in mHealth over the long term will not only create innovative products but will also develop innovative business models—ones that combine unique offerings, viable revenue models, and robust stakeholder ecosystems.
In doing so, these companies will ensure that mHealth solutions achieve their commercial potential in addition to enhancing care. Although the challenges to commercialization may seem daunting, industry players can overcome them through well-designed, collaborative business models.