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M-health will take at least 3-5 years to break through.

Call me pessimistic, call me naive. But having a look at discussions on the internet and print on “how big and fast” mobile health will evolve over the next years, how many billion market this will be in 2014, I often raise my eye-brows.

Sure, it will happen, and it will be fast, maybe even exponential, comparing to what we are used to. But to reach a tipping point it will need one very important mandatory group to adopt it : Health Care Professionals.
In my daily work (Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre) it is just this group that aren’t the front-runners up with these innovations at this point. and i really think we’re a very innovative academic hospital, embracing iPhone apps, looking at iPad use , health 2.0, the first digital clinics etc.  

Lets face it, there are many problems getting doctors from paper-workflow into digital systems, many hurdles to be taken to get to mainstream EHR etc.

Even Gartner,  of their 2009 survey on telemedicine thinks it will take another 5 years.

Don’t get me wrong; i think mHealth will be a big enabler and will be very important, except i am a “little” less optimistic about the speed things get mainstream (let say >60% insurers pay for it, or >30 % Hospitals use it)

And yes, people who know me (or my work) know :

  • i am sure patients will drive this
  • my point always is and will be : act towards mobile with every choice you make today
  • open up your systems for mobile browsing
  • we are busy with iPhone apps and our mobile strategy
  • communicate with patients, informal care and peers by mobile, not only by internet but also by text-messages
  • but most of all start developing WITH patients and HC as of the beginning of your plan. Do not build solutions nobody asks for.

But on the other hand : Sometimes it looks as if it is some kind of self fulfilling prophesy of the market.


Lucien Engelen

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