SAN DIEGO, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Three in ten Americans recently surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute said they would use their cell or smart phone to track and monitor their personal health, and 40 percent would be willing to pay for a remote monitoring device that sends health information directly to their doctor. Their interest reflects the nascent but fast-growing market for remote and mobile health and significant business opportunities for organizations using consumer technologies to support preventative, acute and chronic care.
The findings of the survey and new report entitled Healthcare Unwired were presented today by PricewaterhouseCoopers at the mHealth Initiative 2nd International mHealth Conference in San Diego. According to the report, wireless technology, remote monitoring and mobile devices are changing the nature of healthcare, making it possible to deliver care anywhere in ways that are proving to reduce healthcare costs and keep people healthier.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' research includes a nationwide survey of 2,000 consumers and 1,000 physicians regarding their use and preferences for remote and mobile health services and devices. The survey found:
"Remote and mobile technology is making it possible to move healthcare delivery outside the traditional settings of physician offices and hospitals to wherever patients are. It's bringing back the concept of doctors making house calls," said Daniel Garrett, leader of the health information technology practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "New consumer-oriented business models and technologies are emerging. Companies that will be well positioned competitively are those than can integrate mobile health into healthcare delivery and create value in the health system by helping doctors and their patients better manage health and wellness through mass personalization."
The PricewaterhouseCoopers report outlines three emerging business models for companies looking to capitalize on mobile health, including: Development of consumer products and services; operational and clinical support, and infrastructure that focuses on security, speed and integration of information.
Much of the momentum behind mobile health to date has been from companies outside traditional healthcare, such as technology and telecommunications companies looking to expand their footprint in the health industries, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Yet when asked who they would prefer to receive mobile health services from, consumers ranked their healthcare provider, hospital or health system as Number One, followed by their health insurer.
"There are significant opportunities for physicians, hospitals, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to market and differentiate themselves using mobile health," added Garrett. "Yet many healthcare organizations are largely ignoring the opportunity to integrate mobile health into other IT efforts such as the implementation of electronic health records." PricewaterhouseCoopers research found:
One of the barriers to more rapid adoption of mobile health may be that in-person consultation is still the main basis of reimbursement in healthcare. Public payers and private health insurers, who are primarily responsible for paying for healthcare, have generally not pushed for adoption of mobile health, says PricewaterhouseCoopers. Nor has the healthcare industry figured out a way to pay for electronic transactions in the way other industries have, such as for music and video downloads. This is changing. A number of health plans are beginning to pay for remote monitoring devices to help reduce hospital readmission costs. Some physicians are now getting limited reimbursement for phone consultations, email consults, tele-health and texting. And nearly half (49%) of consumers surveyed said they would be willing to pay out-of-pocket for electronic consultation with their physicians such as through the Internet, e-mail or text messaging.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, infrastructure in the health system also needs to be addressed. Hospital IT networks are struggling under the need for more bandwidth to support rapidly expanding data transactions and exchanges with the growth of mobile health and electronic medical records.
A full copy of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Healthcare Unwired report and survey highlights are available for free download at http://www.pwc.com/us/mhealth.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute commissioned an online survey in the summer of 2010 of 2,000 consumers and 1,000 physicians regarding their use and preference of mobile technologies in the United States. In addition, HRI conducted 35 in-depth interviews with thought leaders and executives representing healthcare providers, payers, private sector technology organizations, academic medical centers, telecommunication companies, pharmaceutical and device companies, retail companies, communication firms and employers.
About PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute (HRI)
PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute (www.pwc.com/hri) is an unparalleled resource for health industry expertise. By providing cutting-edge intelligence, perspective and analysis on issues impacting the health industry, HRI assists executive decision-makers and stakeholders worldwide in navigating their most pressing business challenges. PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the only firms with a dedicated global healthcare research unit, capitalizing on fact-based research and collaborative exchange among our network of professionals with day-to-day experience in the health industries.
About PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Industries Group
PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Industries Group (www.pwc.com/healthindustries) is a leading advisor to public and private organizations across the health industry, including payers, providers, academic institutions, health sciences, biotech/medical devices, pharmaceutical companies, employers and new non-traditional market participants in the dynamic healthcare space. PricewaterhouseCoopers has a network of more than 4,000 professionals worldwide and 1,200 professionals in the U.S. dedicated to the health industries.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Industries' clients include 40 of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. and 16 of the 18 best hospitals as ranked by US News & World Report; all 20 of the world's major pharmaceutical companies; all of the top 20 commercial payers in the U.S.; municipal, state and federal government agencies and many of the world's preeminent medical foundations and associations. Follow PwC Health Industries at http://twitter.com/PwCHealth.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 163,000 people in 151 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.
"PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.
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