By Maximilian Clarke

The world is on the cusp of another mobile revolution as M-health is given an ever higher profile, a report commissioned by Norweigna firm, Telenor, to concide with the 2012 Mobile World Congress (WMC) shows.

Mobile health, of M-health, refers to the monitoring and diagnosis of health concerns with the use of mobile, connected devices. Currently, Telenor’s report shows, there are some 500 projects large scale health initiatives embracing mobile technologies underway, and the potential for business and healthcare providers is colossal.

Commenting on the report, and on the burgeoning m-health market, Charlie Davies, principal analyst at Ovum observes a few barriers to the wider adoption of M-health.

“The results drive home the scale of innovation occurring in mobile health; with an estimated 500 projects globally. It also provides a taste of how diverse services are. These range from the provision of pre-natal information provided via mobile phones for pregnant women in India to significant potential reductions in costs for elderly care at home using mobile alarm and communication systems.

“If innovation is rich, mechanisms for widespread adoption are thin. Commenting on the study, Telenor Group’s CEO, Jon Fredrik Baksaas warned that ‘Many projects are struggling with achieving scale. Both regulatory actions and ecosystem collaboration is required to create the necessary scale’.

“Progressive healthcare policies and new incentives for professionals to adopt these services (including better reimbursement mechanisms) are becoming much more critical to E-health in general gaining momentum, an important point we highlight in our report: ‘Video-conferencing and Healthcare: a new chapter in collaboration’. The industry as a whole needs to ram home the benefits of E-health to skeptical policy makers, which will require a significant amount of patient (and painful) stakeholder engagement.”

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