Research firm Frost & Sullivan listed mHealth among the top three hot topics in healthcare in 2013, garnered from a global survey of 1,835 executives, about 260 of whom worked in the healthcare industry.
Fifty-one percent of respondents nominated mobility in healthcare, or mHealth, as a top trend for the year. The runners up were cloud computing, at 45 percent, and regulatory environments, at 44 percent. They beat out topics like remote monitoring (38 percent), patient engagement (32 percent), and electronic health records (31 percent).
"mHealth expansion has been fueled by the unprecedented spread of mobile technologies, as well as advancements in their innovative application to address health priorities," the company wrote in a press release. "It is largely supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other wireless devices."
Frost & Sullivan lists wireless vitals monitoring, GPS telemonitoring systems, and Bluetooth-enabled health trackers as key opportunities in mobile health and stresses the importance of mobile adoption, connectivity, and security in hospitals.
"Enterprise-wide healthcare informatics will also improve the quality of medical services and efficiency of operations while reducing expenditures," the release goes on. "Cloud computing is considered to be a key enabler for enterprise-wide solutions. Implementing cloud computing technologies appropriately will help healthcare providers improve the quality of medical services and the efficiency of operations, share information across geographic locations and manage expenditures.
Finally, survey participants believed recent regulatory movements, like the FDA's final guidance on mobile health apps, would lead to an emphasis on quality over quantity in mobile health technology and an increased emphasis on "sufficient proof of clinical benefit".
As a result of these trends, the firm predicted that increased connectivity would lead to enhanced functionality of medical devices, a reduced burden on human capital, and fewer medical errors.