PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute. (2010). “Healthcare unwired – New business models delivering care anywhere.” Retrieved from http://www.epractice.eu/files/Healthcare%20unwired%20-%20New%20business%20models%20delivering%20care%20anywhere.pdf.
Mobile technologies hold great promise for keeping people healthy, managing diseases, and lowering healthcare costs. For years, telehealth has provided clinical services for individuals who lacked physical access: farmers in remote communities, soldiers near the battlefield, inmates in prison. Now, these technologies have demonstrated the ability to benefit almost any individual. Mobile devices are the most personal technology that consumers own. They enable consumers to establish personal preferences for sharing and communicating. They can enable health and wellness to be delivered through mass personalization.
Unfortunately, the payment wires are crossed. Providers get paid based on volume of services delivered, and mobile health has been shown to reduce the need for hospital admissions and physician office visits. Why would providers adopt technologies that gouge their incomes? An industry that is paid based on volume will not adopt technologies that reduce volume. However, new payment models enveloped in the new health reform law set up a framework to pay providers based on outcome, not volume. In this environment, mobile health could provide needed connections: for patients who delay care because they’re too busy to wait in a doctor’s office; for physicians who don’t have enough time to spend with patients; for device companies that want to monitor the performance of their devices; for pharmaceutical companies that want to ensure patients are taking the medicines they need; for hospitals that don’t have the capital to build more beds.
In addition, a host of new players are developing easy to use, affordable “care anywhere” devices, services, solutions and networks that are attractive to consumers. Organizations, that want to play a role in making “care anywhere” a reality, will need to provide real value in order for adoption to occur.