A new study by the Economist indicates that healthcare professionals believe mobile technology could have a transformative effect on their industry. The study surveyed 144 “healthcare leaders” around the world, and was conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
For anyone who’s been following the mobile revolution in healthcare, the findings won’t be much of a surprise, but the optimistic outlook they indicate is surely welcome. Of those surveyed, 64 percent said that “mobile health could dramatically improve outcomes by giving people greater access to medical information.” Moreover, half of the respondents agreed that in five years, “mobile health will enable patients to participate more proactively in their own care.” That’s actually already the case for a number of patients, as biometric technology built into mobile phones has allowed users to track various health data themselves.
Another interesting result from the survey: Almost half of the those surveyed “think consumer wariness about privacy violations could be a stumbling block for adoption, while just over half (51 percent) say data privacy risks are their biggest concern.” Indeed, privacy concerns have crept up at the periphery in this area, as in the case of the lawsuit against a company using biometric health data to determine employees’ insurance eligibility. But presumably in the realm of healthcare proper – that is, people using healthcare tools for the end of better health outcomes – the deployment of mobile technology will more explicitly involve consent from the user, and indeed will be something actively sought.