CTIA: Wireless health currently a $304M market

By Brian Dolan

Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNews"The current U.S. market for wireless, home-based health care applications is $304 million," CTIA, the Wireless Association, wrote in an official comment to the FCC, which is mulling over the health care delivery elements of a national broadband plan. "That market is expected to grow to $4 billion in 2013, with estimated annual growth rates of 96 percent in 2010, 126 percent in 2011, 95 percent in 2012, and 68 percent in 2013," The CTIA stated in reference to a recent Parks Associates report.

Perhaps even more interesting: Verizon Wireless estimates that "mobile broadband solutions improved U.S. health care productivity at a savings of almost $6.9 billion – an amount expected to grow to $27.2 billion by 2016," the CTIA stated.

mHealth deserves more spectrum

The market data is part of CTIA's case for urging the FCC to reallocate wireless spectrum to "enable the continued innovation and invention of mHealth applications and services, recognize carriers’ need for reasonable network management, and utilize the universal service rural health care support mechanism in a technologically-neutral approach to facilitate deployment of advanced wireless networks and mHealth applications."

Net Neutrality threatens wireless health?

CTIA also stated that the FCC's potential plans for network neutrality regulations of wireless networks will threaten the future of the wireless health industry: "With remote monitoring and off-site care via wireless comes the constant flow of real-time information to and from patients. Due to the life-saving importance of this information, significant network management by carriers is necessary to ensure that vital information can reach caregivers with the utmost haste. The Commission must recognize that wireless broadband networks are fundamentally different than other broadband networks for many reasons. The Commission also should be mindful of how network neutrality rules would be applied to relationships in the wireless and health care ecosystems, and how they might affect the efficient delivery of health care over wireless networks."

Overall, the official filing from CTIA makes for an excellent overview of the wireless health industry and includes references to a number of mHealth services and apps, including Text4Baby, WellDoc, Zume Life and many more. Read the full filing here (warning: .pdf).

What do you think -- do future wireless health services and innovations require reallocation of wireless spectrum for carriers? Would network neutrality regulation threaten wireless health services?