The Possible Future of mHealth: Likely Trends and Speculation
Seemingly, the most certain component of mHealth’s likely future is uncertainty. As a concept, mHealth has been addressed in the literature for many years. As a reality, its past is more recent. While mHealth is recognized as a disruptive innovation, one that promises to provide needed health care access at lower cost than face-to-face encounters, many expected benefits remain unrealized. Among the remaining challenges to achieving more of the potential for improved access and lower cost in health care are information privacy and security concerns, inability to vet applications and assure efficacy, uncertainty in product regulation, adequate business models for product development, and third-party payment for provider services delivered using mHealth. Currently, the market is dominated by a few large suppliers, notably Apple, but new players are entering a competitive landscape replete with relatively short product life cycles. Long-term viability and sustainability of mHealth as a health care delivery option will depend largely on the ability to meet stakeholder needs and to establish payment mechanisms that motivate providers to adopt mobile technologies as effective alternatives to many in-person interactions.
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