Mobile health strategies shouldn't be one-size-fits-all, Dr. Harry Greenspun, Deloitte's Senior Advisor on Health Care Transformation and Technology, wrote in a recent blog post. There are four dimensions that need to be considering in developing a mobile health intervention or technology. Greenspun breaks down the focus areas into four P's: People, Payment, Places, and Purpose.
"People" refers to tailoring technologies to particular demographics when developing a mobile health strategy, particularly considering a group's access to technology and technology preferences. This is something other analysts have written about in the past: Last year PriceWaterhouseCooper's Global Healthcare Innovation Leader Chris Wasden told MobiHealthNews that an expansion of the technology into the demographics that need it most was a marker of the space's maturity.
“When we did our first report, we found that these early adopters of mHealth solutions were healthy men,” Wasden said at the time. “People who need it the most are using it more. We are starting to go into a more mature phase.”
"Payment" refers, of course, to business model. It used to refer to reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, which has been a perennial challenge for mobile health.
"Early mHealth models were primarily unsuccessful due to reimbursement issues rather than technological ones," Greenspun writes, citing a study from the Annals of Internal Medicine. "Value-based reforms that bundle payment with quality outcomes based on evidence-based standards could help advance the business case for mHealth."
"Places" is the umbrella for local infrastructure concerns. Greenspun stresses the importance of accessible and available wireless and cellular networks to really scale and implement mobile health technologies. He also puts another hot-button issue under this umbrella: is the EHR the right place for the influx of patient data coming from mobile health devices?
The final area to be considered for mobile health technology is "purpose". Greenspun says interventions that zero in on a particular disease state and consider case management complexities for that disease have a better chance of being effective.
An upcoming report from Deloitte will expound on Greenspun's four dimensions. At the mHealth Summit in December, Greenspun said that some of the most important growth for mobile health would happen naturally, as consumer trust and familiarity develop.
In a 2012 report, Wasden identified his own top three areas mobile health has to focus on to succeed. Wasden also identified business models as a key area of focus. In addition, he advised mobile health innovators not to fear the FDA and to consider quantitative measures of clinical efficacy.