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Monday, April 4, 2011

What’s the mHealth Biz Model?


mHealth or mobile health is the future of healthcare delivery; bringing the technology to a simplified platform that is accessible from anywhere, is integrated with core devices that we all carry (our mobile phones), and connects into larger systems like InteractiveMD, Google Health, and certified EHR systems. But what is the business model that will support mhealth application development and proliferation? New consumer devices and expanded sales of devices such as the iPad 2, Android and iOS based smart phones has paved the way for meaningful apps and associated specialized hardware devices to make sense. Wireless technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G LTE supply the necessary infrastructure. Additionally, the overwhelming and rising cost of our national healthcare system coupled with an, ‘I want it now’ consumer attitude, will support the economics required to drive mhealth technology. According to a report on FierceMobileHealthCare.com, “there will be 1.4 billion people with smartphones worldwide by 2015, and 500 million of them will be using mobile health applications, according to a new study from German analysis firm research2guidance. Smartphones will be the catalyst to bring mobile healthcare out of the "trial phase," the Berlin-based company says.”

“Our findings indicate that the long-expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen. Both healthcare providers and consumers are embracing smartphones as a means to improving healthcare," Ralf-Gordon Jahns, the company's head of research, says in a press release posted on the research2guidance blog.”

I agree with opinion of these analysts, who predict greatly increased mhealth revenues. However, more importantly that these revenues will grow from sensor, hardware, and support services associated with the apps rather than marketplace download dollars. At InteractiveMD (http://interactiveMD.com), the mobile health app strategy has followed suit. My team is in development of apps designed with specific user cases in mind: the patient, the doctor, the manager. Each of these app versions will serve the ‘on the go’ needs of each group. All of these apps are planned to be free downloads that integrate with the central technology hub. Designing such apps has taught me a fundamental principle behind a successful app: the simpler the better. Designing for mobile is very different than designing for web; less links, less multi-media, more direct functionality.

Look for more about mhealth as InteractiveMD joins this exciting healthcare revolution!
-by Ghen Sugimoto

Sources: 
        1. 500M will use smartphone health apps worldwide by 2015; Neil Versel; FierceMobileHealthcare; http://www.fiercemobilehealthcare.com/story/500m-will-use-smartphone-health-apps-worldwide-2015/2010-11-16#ixzz1IanhYNxU 
        2. mHealth market: Sensor-based mobile apps show how mHealth business models could work; Sara Disanto; research2guidance; http://www.research2guidance.com/mhealth-market-sensor-based-mobile-apps-show-how-mhealth-business-models-could-work/
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