Asia may mark the next frontier for mHealth adoption according to a study conducted by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Although the study has not been released in its entirety yet, GSMA has given out a sneak peak of the results.
The head of GSMA’s mobile health unit Jeanine Vos has announced that the results of this study foresee Asian mHealth market opportunities growing from the current $500 million to $7 billion by 2017. The study also predicted that 55 percent of this total will be devoted to health monitoring devices and services and 24 percent will be directed at diagnostic services.
Who would be leading this increase? Vos pointed out that, with a predicted nearly 5 billion connected devices by 2020, China will lead the drive upward in Asian mHealth investment.
Where will all of this money be invested? Mobile operators, device manufacturers, software developers, and healthcare providers will see a large portion of the financial benefits, but the Asian population will also witness improvements in healthcare as a result. Vos emphasized the role that mHealth could play by putting monitoring and diagnostic devices in the hands of patients and physicians respectively in Asia.
What are the barriers to mHealth’s success in Asia? Both governments and healthcare professionals can create challenges for mHealth adoption. Vos concluded, “To reach scale and adoption, what will be important is that governments and regulators across the region promote policies that enable healthcare reform to be supported by mobile technologies.”
The complete study, outlining the projected increase in mHealth investment in Asia, will be released later this year in December.