Interview: TripleTree Research Dir. Chris Hoffmann

By Brian Dolan
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TripleTree, Chris HoffmannTripleTree recently announced the availability of its latest research report: Wireless and Mobile Health Report, a follow-up to its classic Telemedicine 2.0 report from 2007, which we still reference because of its helpful categorization of the wireless health market. TripleTree's latest report is likely to be even more useful (and it's free -- register for a copy here.)

While previous reports focused on the financials: venture capital, market opportunities and deals; the latest report from TripleTree focuses on the drivers, solutions and challenges facing wireless health. It also outlines opportunities and activities ongoing in developing markets. Much of the analysis TripleTree conducted was based on questionnaires filled out by hundreds of wireless health start-ups. These companies filled out the surveys in order to enter Triple Tree's I Awards competition this past spring.

MobiHealthNews had a chance to speak to TripleTree's Senior Principal & Research Director Chris Hoffmann to discuss the Wireless and Mobile Health Report:

Awaiting the "Salesforce.com" for wireless health

"We are currently tracking several hundred companies focused on mobile and wireless health -- these companies range from start-ups to global firms, and a growing list of professional investors," Hoffmann said. "A question we're asking about this maturing market is whether a well known global firm can step forward and create an ecosystem of applications on a common platform. Will there be a Salesforce.com for mobile and wireless health? Further, will such a platform come from outside the healthcare industry or from within it? Will telcos, device vendors or big consumer brands like Apple be the ones to take the lead?"

Acquisitions set to accelerate next year?

While there is a lot of interest in wireless health from companies of all sizes many of them are not in a position to start from scratch and successfully compete with those start-ups and incumbents already working on wireless health offerings:

"For many global firms, the fastest path to market leadership will be through acquisition," Hoffmann explained. "This consolidation may not come in the same flurry as we've seen in enterprise software, but some thoughtful strategic deals will begin to occur. Because many of the questions surrounding mHealth and Wireless Health solutions center on 'who pays for them', early M&A activity may be focused on those solutions demonstrating recurring revenue growth or meaningful end user (or patient) retention."

Predicting a massive shift

Given TripleTree's mandate: The company's "long-standing commitment to primary research affords exceptional market access and business insight that permeates our work in mergers and acquisitions, capital formation and strategic advisory services," the company's research director is in a good position to predict how and why the market for wireless health will develop in the next few years. Here's Hoffmann's take:

"We're convinced that a massive shift in the 'connected consumer' will impact mHealth, and in part be lead by Generation Y -- those who grew up with smart phones and social networks. These consumers, impassioned about their well being or that of a loved one, will increasingly leverage social software functionality in conjunction with mobile devices to personalize and share their experiences," Hoffmann explained. "Social-based mHealth will become a natural extension of meshing social software with existing levels of mobile connectivity. With relatively simple tools, co-workers, parents, children, doctors and patients can interact with colleagues, friends, loved ones, 'mommy-experts', and communities to have conversations, get smart, and feel connected."

For more, download a summary of TripleTree's Wireless and Mobile Health report here or register for the hard copy of the full report.

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