Mobile health is touted as affordable, but costs still seen as barrier

By Brian Dolan
05:01 am
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GSMA mHealthThe mobile industry's GSM Association recently funded a survey of 2,000 healthcare providers, patients and consumers in four different countries to better understand the perceptions they had about mobile health. Obviously, a prerequisite for participating in the survey was an understanding or familiarity with mobile health, so those surveyed were a very particular group of providers and consumers.

The survey's top line metric is that 89 percent of providers, 75 percent of patients, and 73 percent of consumers believe that mobile health offerings can convey significant health benefits.

The group's concerns about costs associated with mobile health offerings were perhaps the most interesting metrics collected by the pollsters.

"At a time of such current financial concerns and constraints, mHealth solutions will not be accepted if they add to the current costs of healthcare," the GSMA writes. "...Many HCPs, patients and consumers surveyed by GSMA were concerned about the inaccessibility of mHealth solutions due to costs; 36% of patients believe that mHealth will be expensive, with Brazil and China driving this perception (45% and 41% respectively). Furthermore, almost three quarters of patients and consumers surveyed were concerned that mHealth solutions would not be covered by their insurance company. This is a particular concern in the US, where almost half of HCPs believe they will not be remunerated for mHealth."

As the GSMA goes on to note, that stands in considerable contrast to one of mobile health's overarching value propositions: That it is often fairly inexpensive and affordable.

"Of crucial value to regulators is the finding in this research that one third of patients surveyed struggle with affordability of care and half of them believe that mHealth is a solution to this," the GSMA writes.

The full report is chock full of stats from people familiar with mobile health, read the whole thing here. (PDF)