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Interoperability Will Help mHealth Grow, Report Says

April 4, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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According to a recent report from consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC), 53 percent of doctors say that mobile health (mHealth) applications and services they use work with their organization’s IT systems, and even fewer say they are integrated with technology in other parts of the health system.

The lack of interoperability between technologies is often to blame, according to the PwC-commissioned Economist Intelligence Unit report, “Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth.”  Interoperability is a critical step in supporting the broad commercial adoption of mHealth, which is following that of other information technology developments in open interfaces, platforms and guidelines.

“The predominant business model in connected health of the past, and which continues to be followed by many today, is for large, entrenched vendors to offer proprietary, closed end-to-end solutions,” the report says. “This closed approach is intended to create a dedicated customer base and a competitive advantage for the medical device company. For this reason, many healthcare systems are disparate and difficult to integrate, and only the vendor seems to know the secret on how to unlock the data.”

The report suggests that vendors must demonstrate the clinical efficacy and return on investment of mHealth solutions to gain physician acceptance. “Interoperability plays a key role in this, because it ensures greater data accuracy, which in turn increases the confidence of both physicians and patients. And a device that is interoperable with various systems enhances data security and reliability thus making it easier for device manufacturers to gain regulatory approvals.”

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