In our view, there are four primary drivers to the growth of mobile cloud applications in healthcare.
Doctors. One of the principal factors spurring mobile healthcare apps and mobile cloud apps has been the rapid adoption of iPads by doctors. A recent survey (Manhattan Research) found that over 60% of U.S. doctors report using iPads, with about 25% using them at point of care. (A survey in Europe in late 2011 reported over 25% using iPads, with 40% planning to purchase them in the near future.)
Patient Monitoring. Mobile monitoring is occurring in at least two ways. First, there are handy devices which can be used typically by a patient or someone assisting them, to get various bio readings which can be transmitted wirelessly to a mobile device or computer. Secondly, the prospect of building various bio-sensors into mobile communications devices has been receiving increasing attention in recent years. (Bio-sensors can monitor various bodily indicators including temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, weight, breathing, blood sugar, brain waves. Smartphones may already include numerous sensors, including: accelerometers, digital compass, proximity sensor, gyroscope, GPS, microphone, and camera.) This area should be further stimulated by the FCC’s 2012 ruling allocating spectrum for Medical Body Area Networks (discussed below.)
Hospitals. Hospitals, like other institutions, as well as companies, are recognizing the flood of mobile devices, essentially BYOD among doctors and other professionals. They have issues regarding the electronic health records (EHR) that are typically managed by extensive legacy software systems, many of which are reaching the point of needing significant upgrade.
Insurance. Insurance providers as well as employers are seeking tools to help consumers through the maze of medical information, which must not only be dealt with to address their health issues but also entails serious costs and economic consequences. Insurers are also considering how mobile cloud apps may be differentiators in marketing their services to enterprise and consumer buyers.