Mobile health solutions have the potential to dramatically change the healthcare industry, according to George MacGinnis from Continua Health Alliance.
In an interview, held ahead of the Connected World Forum that will take place on 19-22 November in Dubai, MacGinnis said that there is an increasing realization that the entry of mHealth is a real game changer.
The two most important changes leading to this are the advent of touchscreen devices, which transforms the accessibility of mobile for older people, and the way this will enable new health apps.
The global mHealth market will jump to $11.8 billion by 2018, climbing at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 39%, from $1.2 billion in 2011, according to a report, published in August by GlobalData.
MacGinnis added that regulation and reimbursement are the two major issues that threaten the adoption of mHealth solutions in the healthcare industry.
"There are many uncertainties about the scope of medical device regulations: what exactly qualifies a device as a medical device, what class of device is a mobile app and does connecting your phone to a medical device make that phone a medical device?," MacGinnis said. "This creates a degree of uncertainty for device manufacturers and the industry as a whole".
He added that there is a huge need around chronic disease management in both emerging and developed economies. According to MacGinnis, emerging economies offer many times a fresh approach to disease management.
"I think we will see mobile services emerging from regions like the Gulf, India, China and South America being re-imported into the older developed economies – where professional structures and regulations, established insurance practices and other factors are arguably holding back the potential for mobile health," MacGinnis said.
"However, no matter the marketplace, when you look around the world it is evident that more and more people are prepared to go virtual to manage their healthcare and this will create a demand to change and modernize that no health system is likely to be able to ignore".