mHealth: Embraced by developing world, resisted by developed countries

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A new study of the global mHealth market finds that consumers and developing countries are driving its growth, while physicians are reluctant to adapt.


Those are some of the conclusions drawn from “Emerging Health: Paths for Growth,” published by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 48-page report, based on two separate surveys conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and analyzing 10 nations, indicates developing nations are quicker to accept and adopt telehealth because it’s seen as a way to increase access to healthcare, while developed nations like the United States are being dogged down by regulatory hurdles and a resistance to change among providers.


“Consumers are demanding and payers are willing to pay, but providers aren’t willing to provide,” said Christopher Wasden, PwC’s global healthcare innovation leader. “What we are going to need to do is get providers to think and act differently.”


“To what extent are physicians in their country willing to adapt?” he asked.


Wasden and David Levy, MD, also a global healthcare leader for PwC, said mHealth is more of a disruptive force in developed nations because it challenges the status quo and forces providers and payers to accept that patients have more control of their healthcare choices. Wasden said many doctors are wary of giving the patient more access to medical data and control because they fear – incorrectly – that they will lose business.

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