Developing nations are adopting mobile health technology at a faster pace than developed countries like the U.S., according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Healthcare Finance News reports.
About the Report
The report -- titled, "Emerging Health: Paths for Growth" -- was based on two surveys conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a research and consulting group (Wicklund, Healthcare Finance News, 6/8).
One survey focused on consumers and the other focused on physicians. Both surveys were conducted in:
- South Africa;
- The United Kingdom; and
- The U.S. (Roney, Becker's Hospital Review, 6/8).
Developing Countries vs. Developed Countries
The report found that developing countries are quicker to adopt mobile health tools because they see such technology as:
- A way to boost access to health care; and
- A new market with significant growth potential.
However, developed nations like the U.S. often face greater regulatory hurdles that can hinder mobile health adoption, the report noted.
Christopher Wasden and David Levy -- global healthcare innovation leaders at PwC -- said that physicians in developed countries might be resistant to change and could see mobile health tools as disruptive because they give patients more control of their health care decisions.
Levy said, "The main barriers are not the technology, but rather systemic to health care and inherent resistance to change" (Healthcare Finance News, 6/8).
The consumer segment of the report found that:
- 59% of surveyed consumers said they believe mobile health will change the way they seek health information;
- 49% said they believe mobile health will change how they manage chronic conditions, medications and their overall health; and
- 48% said they believe mobile health will affect how they communicate with physicians.
Of the surveyed consumers who already use mobile health technology, 59% said the tools have replaced some in-person visits to physicians or nurses.
The physician segment of the report found that 27% of surveyed physicians actively encourage patients to use mobile health applications, while 13% discourage such use.
Forty-two percent of surveyed physicians said they worry that mobile health applications will make patients too independent, the report found.
When asked about the major barriers to adopting mobile health technology:
- 64% of surveyed physicians cited a lack of proven business models;
- 49% cited current health care reimbursement structures; and
- 44% cited security and privacy issues (Becker's Hospital Review, 6/8).