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November 15, 2016

Positive ROI boosts mobile health strategy

More and more healthcare organizations have put mobile strategy in place. A whopping 82% did so this year, compared to 52% only one year ago. This increase could be linked to the fact that most of the investors got a positive ROI from mobile app investments. At least, so say survey participants in a survey held by open source software developer Red Hat.

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Red Hat commissioned research firm Vanson Bourne to survey 200 IT decision makers from public and private healthcare, life science and pharmaceutical organizations in the U.S., UK, France, and Germany. The biggest drivers behind app development are:

  1. Improving productivity for healthcare organizations (63 percent U.S. respondents);
  2. Healthcare provider demand for better patient engagement and care (60 percent U.S. respondents); and
  3. Patient and health plan members’ demand for mobile apps (56 percent U.S. respondents).

The report also states that the third category is most likely to outstrip the push for improving internal efficiency over the next 12 months.

The majority of apps in the U.S. are provided to physicians (59 percent), followed by patients/health plan members (55 percent), and technicians (44 percent), the survey said. European survey participants painted a slightly different picture with pharmaceutical research development staff the largest priority for apps (53 percent), followed by patients/ health plan members (46 percent) and doctors (43 percent).

The growth in mobile health app development will continue with the average number of healthcare apps produced by U.S.-based survey participants in the next year projected to rise 56 percent from nine to 14. The mobile health category with the greatest market potential in the next five years is remote monitoring to support patient-physician communication, according to a Research2Guidance report published last month.

One of the greatest concerns has always been security for mobile health apps, particularly regarding the protection of patient health information. About 98 percent of the Red Hat survey respondents said app security is their primary business concern. According to the survey it can be put into a couple of priorities including data encryption from device back-end systems (30 percent) and HIPAA compliance (29 percent). Although healthcare organizations are keen to increase their app development efforts, they only plan to increase budgets by 15.5 percent, which includes the cost of maintaining and updating existing apps.

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