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Report: Baby Boomers Will be Integral to mHealth

May 2, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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A new report from the Cambridge, Mass.-based research and consulting firm, Fuld & Company, has concluded that those looking to gain share in the growing mobile health (mHealth) market will have to find partners to cater to the affluent Baby Boomer generation and their caregivers.

Fuld & Company held a contest, with teams from Dartmouth's Tuck School, MIT Sloan, Northwestern Kellogg School, and Yale School of Management, which stress tested the wireless health strategies of Bosch Healthcare, GE Healthcare, start-up software company Independa, and Medtronic.

"Wireless health is a very complex business that is part of the even more complex healthcare industry," Leonard Fuld, Fuld & Company president said in a statement. "Serving chronically ill or aging patients in the home setting presents a number of unresolved challenges, among them patient compliance and reimbursement.”  

Along with the need to form alliances, the report, which derived from the contest, said developers must make their products and accompanying services user friendly and meet very personal needs of the patient and the caregiver alike. Early adopters of wireless health, the report noted, will come from upscale baby boomers who can pay for the technology themselves and who are already primed to accept and use this form of highly interactive next generation of telemedicine.

The report’s authors also predicted mergers, alliances and licensing agreements are inevitable. “Wireless health is a composite of a number services and technical expertise with no single company able to control this market. Players will need to ally or possibly merge with counterparts in order to bring together the critical elements of this healthcare supply chain,” it noted.  

The report stated profits will come from data integration, not from killer apps: For companies to extract the value (and the profit) from this industry, they will first require industry standards, followed by a requirement to integrate the data from various sensors and devices to provide a holistic view of patient health.

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