Americans are willing to use mobile devices to let physicians track their health, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report, titled “Healthcare Unwired,” surveyed 2,000 consumers and found that 31 percent are willing to use a mobile phone application for health-tracking purposes. Approximately 43 percent would be willing to pay for a mobile or remote health monitoring device such as a glucose or heart monitor, but of this group, 64 percent would only pay if the device cost less than $50.
Out of the 1,000 physicians surveyed, 86 percent said they would like their patients to track their health remotely, but 30 percent of physicians said their hospitals or practice leaders would not be open to using remote monitoring devices. The greatest benefit of remote devices, according to the physicians surveyed, would be the availability of real-time data. However, one of the biggest challenges of adopting remote devices could be that reimbursement payments are mostly based on in-person visits. According to a March report from global strategy consulting firm Scientia Advisors, remote health management is growing fast, but government and private health insurers only reimburse for it on a limited basis.
Despite the reimbursement issues, the report projects that the remote health management market will double from $1.8 billion in 2007 to $3.6 billion in 2012. Remote health management is the fastest growing segment of the home health management market. Some companies that produce mobile phone applications for smartphones include iHealth Ventures, Health Analytic Services, and Medic8Manager. Companies specializing in remote monitoring devices include Telcare, GE Healthcare, NewCare Medical, Aerotel Medical Systems and Biotronik Biomedical.