Patients, Physicians Willing To Track Health Via Mobile Devices

Patients are willing to use health monitoring devices to send data directly to physicians, but generally are not as willing to pay much for the devices, according to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Wall Street Journal's "Health Blog" reports (Hobson, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 9/8).

The report -- titled "Healthcare Unwired" -- surveyed 2,000 consumers and 1,000 physicians. The findings were presented at the second International mHealth Conference in San Diego.

Consumer Results

According to the study, 31% of consumers said they would select an application for their mobile device to track and monitor their personal health information (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 9/8).

Forty percent of consumers said they would be willing to pay for a mobile or remote monitoring device, which could include blood pressure cuffs, and glucose and heart-rate monitors.

However, of these consumers willing to purchase such a device:

  • 64% said they would be willing to pay only if the instrument cost less than $50; and
  • 41% said they would pay a monthly subscription fee for the device.

Insurers might cover more of the costs if the devices prove to be effective, "Health Blog" reports ("Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 9/8).

Physicians Weigh In

Among physician respondents:

  • 88% said they would like their patients to track their health remotely;
  • 63% said they already are using personal devices for mobile health practices that have no connection to their practice or hospital system; and
  • 30% said their hospital or practice leaders would not be supportive of using the devices.

Physicians also noted that the greatest benefit of mobile health devices would be the availability of more accurate data in real time (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 9/9).

According to the researchers, one of the challenges to physicians who want to adopt the use of the devices could be that reimbursement payments mainly are based on in-person consultations (Healthcare IT News, 9/8).

Prospects for Growth

In large part, growth in the mobile health care industry has been generated from companies outside of the traditional health care sector, including technology and telecommunications companies, according to the report.

Daniel Garrett -- who leads PwC's health IT practice -- said, "There are significant opportunities for physicians, hospitals, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to market and differentiate themselves using mobile health" (HealthLeaders Media, 9/9).

Hugo Campos
I would be willing to pay for information collected from my implantable cardiac device. It already is available to doctors. However it is not made available to patients in real-time. Access to this data would improve my quality of life and save me money on the long run. —Hugo Campos ICD User Group

to share your thoughts on this article.