3 barriers to mHealth adoption

Right now, mHealth is the darling of the already booming health IT market. In the second quarter of 2014, health IT companies raised $1.8 billion in venture capital. The most money went toward mobile health companies — $401 million over 45 deals, according to a report from Mercom Capital.

However, recent consumer adoption trends indicate investors' dreams may not be realized. "There are unrealistic expectations for when and how mobile health is going to come together," Patty Mechael, former executive director of the mHealth Alliance, told the MIT Technology Review. Here in the U.S., "we are somewhere between the peak of the hype cycle and the trough of disillusionment," she said.

One major problem is user retention. Even though a large number of Americans have downloaded mHealth apps, not many stay engaged. According to the MIT Technology Review report, about two-thirds of consumers who have downloaded an mHealth app have stopped using it.

A related issue is the poor average quality of many consumer-facing mHealth apps. There are more than 10,000 medical apps available for consumers, but only 28 percent of smartphone users and 18 percent of tablet users report being "very satisfied" with the quality of the apps, according to a report from Booz & Company.

The apps currently on the market aren't offering what consumers want, according to a report from McKinsey&Company. Many app developers are focusing on new and flashier mobile products and services to offer consumers. However, consumers' mHealth desires are more foundational — they want reliable access to their health information, time-savers like online appointment scheduling and the ability to connect with a person when they need something the digital offerings don't provide, according to the report.

More articles on mHealth:

Healthgrades, athenahealth partner to offer online appointment scheduling
6 recently launched mHealth apps
FTC Raises Concerns Over Security of PHI Collected By Mobile Apps

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