MHealth, A Good Investment opportunity for doctors? For People in Germany.
The market potential of m-health in Germany remains largely unclear at now. One complicating factor is that albeit terms like m-health, e-health, telehealth, telemedicine, telemonitoring, and private health are well defined in theory, they're not clearly distinguished from each other in reality. Any assessment of the potential of m-health is subject to a degree of variability as compared to other markets. However, one of the foremost reliable predictions, from the GSM Association, estimates that global sales of m-health services will reach €18.8 billion in 2017, with quite €5.6 billion coming from Europe and €5.3 billion from North America.
To estimate the true potential of mobile health for the various players in the German healthcare system—particularly pharmaceutical and medical technology companies one of the main questions is:
What is the mobile health promise?
The definition of m-health has evolved in recent years. Today m-health is taken into account a sub-area of e-health, and therefore the term includes the utilization of both classic mobile communications technologies and also any mobile technologies through which health services can be offered or received. As such, m-health can provide added value for patients and consumers on top of e-health. As m-health spreads, the traditional health services market will converge with secondary health services, which include prevention and wellness. Consequently, from a technological viewpoint, the boundaries between patients affected by disease and healthy consumers are gradually blurring.
M-health's development is particularly apparent in the spread of application-oriented innovations. For example, m-health links existing technologies like mobile Internet and blood sugar monitors to unravel complex issues and cut out unnecessary steps within the treatment pathway. By making use of readily available infrastructure, m-health will offer lasting improvements in the quality of care, the comfort patients' experience during care, and the costs to the healthcare system.
M-health addresses a wide range of fields. Figure 2 shows the varied categories of m-health solutions—including information, assessment, intervention, monitoring, and coordination— with their applicability distributed along the whole treatment path.
Areas during which m-health is beneficial are found right along the treatment pathway:
- Providing access to information relevant to patients' medical needs to improve early detection of disease
- Reminder functions and personalized patient information that improve patient compliance and, accordingly, medication efficacy
- Optimized administrative processes and simplified data collection that offer more direct access to essential patient data
- Automated, structured data management that reduces unnecessary duplicate testing and improves patient safety
- Remote monitoring improves the quality of life as consultations occur online and improves access to specialists in places where care often is difficult to obtain.
- Optimized disease management by remote monitoring of chronically ill patients (such as those with chronic heart failure and diabetes)