GSMA: Govt help can see mHealth industry grow to £14.7bn

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The GSMA says a new report shows the mHealth industry could be worth £14.7 billion globally but only if governments embrace technology

Operators, manufacturers and app developers could be in line for a £14.7 billion windfall thanks to mobile health (mHealth) technology by 2017, if global governments embrace the practice the GSMA says.

According to a report compiled by PwC for the GSMA, global operators could earn £7.37 billion, manufacturers, £4.2 billion and app developers £1.7 billion from mHealth services.

The report says Europe would become the largest region for mHealth, with total revenues of £4.4 billion, followed by Asia Pacific with £4.3 billion, Latin America with £1.01 billion and Africa with £765 million.

It reckons monitoring services for chronic disease management, such as T-Mobile’s CardioMessenger Service which offers remote cardiac monitoring for patients in Germany will account for 65 per cent of the market.

Diagnosis services, including mobile telemedicine and health call centres allowing people in isolated areas to contact healthcare professionals will account for 15 per cent of the global market, while treatment services such as those that ensure patients adhere to medicine taking schedules will make up 10 per cent of all revenues.

GSMA executive director for mHealth Jeanine Vos (pictured) says: “By 2017, mobile technology will be a key enabler of healthcare delivery reaching every corner of the globe

“With developed countries needing to reduce the cost of universal healthcare, and developing countries looking to roll out life-saving services to in-need communities, mobile technology offers the ability to deliver highly effective, scalable and affordable healthcare beyond the confines of a hospital or doctor’s surgery.”

But she says global government need to more to ensure the mHealth sector strengthens, highlighting the need for governments to use the services in their countries own health systems.

Vos reckons government refusal to provide regulatory support for different types of mHealth services, and their standardisation is also limiting the growth of the sector.

She recommends carrying out a greater amount of benefit studies using the technology to show government support and drive support for such systems in the medical profession.

“This report not only highlights the revenue opportunity mHealth will provide, but crucially, it also proves the feasibility of mobile services supporting healthcare is greater than ever before.

It is not only here to stay, but is expected to drive major changes in the delivery of healthcare worldwide.

“It is critical governments and regulators the world over, as well as the healthcare profession, embrace this opportunity and work with the mobile industry to ensure it is fully realised.”

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