Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Smartphones boost growth of mhealth, says Winter Green Research

Steve Rogerson
October 6, 2015
 
Telemedicine, telehealth and mhealth markets at $1.5bn in 2014 are anticipated to reach $45.4bn by 2021, according to a study by Winter Green Research. Mhealth markets related to telemedicine will grow the fastest, leveraging nearly ten billion smart phones and five billion connected tablet devices installed all over the world by 2021.
 
Worldwide markets are poised to achieve significant growth as push systems are used inside telemedicine systems and mhealth apps to move patient and clinician communications in a secure manner to and from the person or clinician that needs the healthcare information. Telecommunications initiatives are being implemented with handset and tablet communications for all patients and clinicians.
 
Telemedicine and mhealth market driving forces relate to people taking more responsibility for their own health. Telemedicine and mhealth contribute to healthcare delivery in the home and office. Mhealth, delivered over smartphones and tablets, comes in the form of apps. Telemedicine is evolving towards smart phone device delivery as well.
 
The cost of telemedicine for the US veterans administration is $1630 per patient per annum. This is less than skilled nursing facility programmes and nursing home care, which costs $100,000 per annum. The VHA's positive experience with enterprise-wide home telemedicine implementation is driving adoption by hospitals everywhere. Telemedicine is an appropriate and cost-effective way of managing chronic care patients in both urban and rural settings.
 
The telemedicine adoption rate is growing. Cost of care delivery has become a major concern worldwide as the population ages. Mobile phone apps and remote telemedicine equipment are driving increased adoption, growing adoption rates. Concerns regarding the efficacy of care through use of telemedicine in the healthcare industry have alleviated. Reimbursement is being made available for clinicians for the use of telemedicine.
 
Patients are being encouraged to take more responsibility for their own care. Technology is bringing change. People have more accurate information available to themselves. The current situation is impacted by the very high proportion of medical spending that is directed to the treatment of chronic disease. A second aspect is that chronic conditions are best controlled by interventions on a daily basis with a trusted nurse monitoring and measuring outcomes of various situations.
 
Telemonitors can integrate with management suites to empower care providers within healthcare systems, physician offices or home health agencies with web-enabled, on-demand access to this configurable device. Wireless connectivity with a broad range of peripheral devices supports patients with various needs and risk factors.
 
Medical consultation systems allow healthcare providers to monitor patients remotely around-the-clock. Voice-enabled, disease-specific symptom management (DSSM) questions are part of the system. Protocols include multi-level questions. Multi-level question sets can be triggered by yes or no answers.
 
This level of granularity enables care providers to telemonitor patients with chronic diseases. Disease conditions monitored include hypertension, COPD, CHF and diabetes. Honeywell’s network of remote patient monitors consists of 70,000 installed units. This is a significant installed base. Honeywell provides a complete and flexible telemonitoring system. Accurate vital signs collection is improved with clear auditory and visual cues to the patient.
 
The study deals with three separate related markets. Telemedicine is the tracking and monitoring of chronic disease. Vital signs and advice are core parts of the business. Mhealth is a separate business related to the development of apps that are providing monitoring through smartphones and tables, and are providing wellness applications. In telehealth, companies, enterprises, and insurers contract with a services provider to be available on the telephone to help people deal with a virus, an infection, poison ivy, pink eye and common disease conditions that can be managed with telephone or video communications.
 
Mhealth relates to apps. The app helps healthcare providers meet patients where they are, enabling just-in-time patient education and care coaching through the power of mhealth. Health groups are evolving worldwide leadership positions in mobile health systems with millions using mobile health applications on iOS and Android, enjoying the personal and family benefits of being led to live a more active, healthier lifestyle.
 
Push telecommunications for telemedicine and mhealth support custom messaging from patients on a daily basis. Messaging is a feature of the Bosch Health Buddy and other leading telemedicine systems. The systems rely on content programmes that are tailored to patient conditions and involve questionnaires tailored to the chronic condition in the case of patients with those types of disease conditions.