Worldwide about 70 percent of people are interested in having access to at least one mHealth application, according to a new research report from Pyramid Research. What's more they are willing to pay for that access, the report found. Pyramid also estimates that about 200 million mHealth applications are in use today and that number will triple by 2012.
According to Pyramid, the biggest barrier for mHealth has been costs: The cost of developing the services, cost of educating healthcare stakeholders, and how to justify the costs to secure reimbursement.
Pyramid's report concludes that telecom companies are best positioned to take advantage of the mHealth opportunity: "mHealth gives telecommunications and technology vendors a potential customer base that’s large, global and willing to spend money," Pyramid's press release states.
"Technology and telecommunications providers are well positioned for developing, extending, and marketing mHealth applications," stated Denise Culver, analyst at large at Pyramid. "Many of these players already have established relationships with healthcare providers and payers, and many benefit from large, global scale."
Pyramid's finding that about 70 percent of people worldwide would like access to and are willing to pay for an mHealth app is much higher than the findings of PricewaterhouseCoopers' report in September where only 40 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay for an mHealth service. The Wall Street Journal summed up that survey's findings nicely: "Patients are willing to use remote or mobile monitoring devices to transmit health info right to their physicians — they just don’t want to pay much for them."
The difference levels of interest are likely due to the Pyramid's report global focus and PwC's North American focus, but does interest and willingness to pay really shoot up to 70 percent when surveying worldwide?
For more on Pyramid's report, read the press release here