Mobile Health Goes Mainstream: Diabetes, Heart Disease Top Targets of mHealth Technologies

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Healthcare is most ‘apped’ to use mobile health to manage or prevent disease, according to new market research on mHealth adoption from the Healthcare Intelligence Network. Smartphone apps lead the healthcare industry’s foray into mobile health (mHealth), according to 150 organizations who completed the first annual Mobile Health survey.

Fifty-eight percent of responding healthcare companies use smartphone apps, the survey found. Respondents’ primary intention of mHealth adoption is for disease management (66 percent) or prevention (64 percent).

Diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) were the clinical conditions most frequently targeted by mHealth applications, respondents reported.

The reach and availability of smartphones make the devices a logical tool for health tracking and improvement; globally, more than 6 billion people use mobile phones, or about 87 percent of the world population, according to Flurry Analytics.

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) will harness the power of mobile technology in its new Health eHeart Study. The study, announced last month, will monitor 1 million patients patients worldwide who will use smartphones to send health information to doctors who can analyze the data and provide instant feedback. A press release on the UCSF Web site said the goal of the survey is to better understand how the heart functions and to develop new ways to predict and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Almost half of responding healthcare companies — 45 percent — have adopted some type of mHealth technology, including text messaging (reported by 47 percent) and mobile Web (42 percent). Among mhealth adopters who took the HIN survey, cost is the most significant challenge, say 26 percent, followed by interoperability (18 percent) and infrastructure (12 percent).

Device suitability is also an issue for some. “Some of the products were not designed for the degree of use we need,” contributed one respondent, a provider of long-term care. “We are using two different devices to cover the same monitoring duties.”

Perhaps because mHealth adoption is so new, 20 percent of respondents have not seen any improvement to date. However, marginal gains in patient satisfaction, disease management and preventive care were reported.

“With smartphones comprising almost half of all cell phones in use in the United States, it makes sense for healthcare to tap into this technology and others for the large-scale exchange and consumption of healthcare information,” noted Melanie Matthews, HIN executive vice president and chief operating officer. “While it may sound dramatic, today’s text message reminder of a doctor’s appointment might prevent that individual’s hospitalization down the line.”

More results from the survey are available in the latest HINtelligence report, Mobile Health in 2013: Diabetes, Heart Disease Top Targets for Technologies, available for download at

Source: Healthcare Intelligence Network, April 8, 2013

2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Mobile Health

2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Mobile Health delivers a snapshot of mobile health (mHealth) trends, including current and planned mHealth initiatives, types and purpose of mHealth interventions, targeted populations and health conditions, and challenges, impact and results from mHealth efforts at 150 healthcare companies.

This entry was posted in Disease Management, Health Coaching, Improving Patient Care, Mobile Health, Patient Satisfaction, Population Health Management, Prevention and Wellness. Bookmark the permalink.
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