PriceWaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute has issued a new study on mobile health, which includes some fascinating physician and consumer survey data. (PWC Report) Most physicians said they would be interested both in being to able to have patients track their health at home and communicate with physicians and in being able to interact with patients by mobile/internet technologies as opposed to through in-person visits. Use of non-office visits can be substitutive and can lower costs for the physician and charges to the patient.
Consumers also have high levels of interest in mobile solutions and alternative ways to interact with physicians. They are not interested in paying much for these, however, which may limit adoption. Less than half of Medicare and Medicaid patients are willing to pay anything out-of-pocket for electronic doctor interactions. About half of all consumers say they would buy health-related mobile technologies, but they want to pay $10 a month or less for the service. Primary uses would be monitoring fitness and allowing doctors to check on health conditions.
PWC identifies three primary markets for mobile health: doctors trying to improve clinical and administrative efficiency; consumers interested in monitoring and managing their health and hospitals and other providers seeking to improve infrastructure and lower costs. As is usually the case, the extent to which any of these markets attain substantial size and profitability will depend on persuading someone to pay for equipment, software and services. It is not clear that the industry has reached that point yet.