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 Tuesday, March 06, 2012
The study identifies the main healthcare challenges in each study country, and estimates the potential benefits over the next decade of large-scale mHealth solutions being made available, leveraging the best evidence available on mHealth pilots to date. It also examines the roles stakeholders need to play to help make this a reality.

Based on the explosive growth in global mobile phone penetration, a technology revolution is quickly gaining pace in healthcare. Around the world, healthcare systems are overburdened, costly and incapable of meeting the needs of a growing population. According to a new study from The Boston Consulting Group and Telenor Group, mobile health technology can offer sizeable benefits to all countries, lead to economic growth and promise a better life for individuals.

The study "Socio-Economic Impact of mHealth " - commissioned by Telenor Group and carried out by The Boston Consulting Group - is a comprehensive survey of the impact that mHealth initiatives can have in 12 countries. What unites them all is that mobile health technology can improve the quality, reach and effectiveness of services while reducing costs and the overall system burden.

Telenor Group has launched a number of mobile health initiatives across its markets. In Norway, an assisted living project helps the elderly stay longer at home through mobile alarm systems. In Thailand, a mobile text messaging service provides epidemic surveillance. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, a service called Healthline provides patients with a simple number to dial for both serious and non-serious medical needs. In India, mothers can obtain critical information about prenatal health via their phones. In Montenegro, a joint project with the EU provides a service for remotely located elderly people, enabled by one touch on a button on their mobile handset. In Serbia, mobile health technology is used to increase the quality of medical registration and reporting for the Roma community.

Among the key findings:

  • The necessary infrastructure is already in everyone's hands: 7.4 billion mobile subscriptions projected by 2015

  • The technology richness and network capacity is sufficient, both on simple feature phones and on smart devices

  • Currently, more than 500 mobile health projects are taking place around the world

  • Costs in elderly care can be reduced by 25% with mobile healthcare

  • Maternal and perinatal mortality can be reduced by 30%

  • Twice as many rural patients can be reached per doctor

  • Tuberculosis treatment compliance can be improved by 30-70%

  • 30% of smartphone users are likely to use "wellness apps" by 2015

  • Costs related to data collection can be reduced by 24%

  • Smartphone is the most popular technology among doctors since the stethoscope

(Source: Reuters News)
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