3 Challenges Faced by the mHealth Industry

Americans own a total of 327 million mobile devices. These devices can be used as tools to help patients monitor their health, enable easier communication between physicians and between physicians and patients and to collect health data that can be used by providers and government agencies to improve care delivery and population health, according to a report from the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution.

However, three obstacles currently stand in the way of the development of a robust mHealth industry in the U.S.

1. The market is small and not widely accepted. The mHealth market is still in its infancy. Not many companies have entered the space, and there is little collaboration between those that have. Because a robust market requires the participation of network operators, equipment manufacturers, service providers, patients and providers, more entities from all of these categories need to enter the market before it can grow.

2. Lack of reimbursement policies. Currently, most providers receive small or no reimbursement for mHealth activities as mHealth is generally not covered by private or government payers. This has slowed the adoption of mHealth across the country.

3. Regulatory uncertainty. Most mHealth apps are currently not regulated, as many of them deal primarily with fitness and dieting. As more clinically focused apps began appearing in the market, the Food and Drug Administration released draft guidance in September 2013 stipulating those apps designed to diagnose or treat disease or turn a mobile device into a medical device would be regulated. The role of the FDA is still uncertain, however, as several recent bills would deregulate the market.

More Articles on mHealth:

Study: Older Adults Willing to Use mHealth, But Must See Need
Opposition to Bill Limiting FDA Regulation of Health IT Grows
Sprint's mHealth Accelerator Welcomes Inaugural Class

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