For mHealth To Succeed, We'll Need Standards

Bill Ash and Kathryn Bennett | mHealthNews | July 18, 2014

Do you FitBit? It’s a question that’s on the lips of millions of consumers, given that the device manufacturer captured a whopping 67 percent of total wearable fitness trackers sold in 2013. Once the domain of limited-functionality products like hearing aids and traditional pedometers that merely counted steps and mileage, the mobile health devices market is maturing and transforming into a much more sophisticated, feature-rich environment.

There are now commercially available consumer applications that can turn a smartphone into a thermometer, pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor, glucose meter and more. Then there’s the clinical mHealth market – projected to surge past the consumer mHealth market to reach a high of $16B by 2023 – with its array of mobile ultrasounds, virus and nano-particle imagers, blood analyzers and other clinical functionalities. Opportunities for development and adoption of new labor-, time- and money-saving mHealth devices is virtually unlimited, but the challenges posed by integrating new mHealth technologies into a busy clinical practice can be daunting, and even become a barrier to adoption.

mHealth technologies offer a bounty of benefits and advantages, including improved monitoring, faster diagnostics, greater flexibility and measurable cost-savings, for physicians and patients alike. However, with great promise also come great challenges, particularly for healthcare organizations and clinical practices. What’s the best way to work these new devices and applications into an organization’s daily workflow?...