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mHealth could be 'the future' of healthcare

EC says Europe is preparing for the mHealth revolution

mHealth mobile healthEurope will next month take a step towards a clearer mHealth framework when the European Commission opens its long-awaited consultation on the sector.

The EC expects to launch an mHealth green paper in March to seek views on issues like data protection, privacy compliance, patient safety and legal clarity.

The EC set itself a 2014 deadline for the mHealth green paper back in December 2012, having earlier run a consultation on mHealth needs and requirements.

The 12-week consultation is due to open late next month and EC hopes that those getting involved will include telecoms and technology companies, app developers, healthcare professionals and the public.

Announcing the consultation the EC's vice president for the digital agenda Neelie Kroes said: “Mobile technologies can be a huge help to healthcare - from remote monitoring so people can stay active at home to simple mobile apps and devices to take control.

“As populations get older our healthcare [systems] risk becoming unsustainable but new technology can save them: mHealth could be the future of healthcare, with patient data easily accessible to professionals for better diagnosis and continuity of care.”


Watch Neelie Kroes explain the European Commission's mHealth plans

Noting the European app economy is already worth €17.5bn and responsible for 1.8 million jobs, she added: “The market is getting for this revolution – for business or for pleasure, Europeans can't get enough of smartphones, tablets and apps.”

By the end of this year 231 million individuals worldwide will have downloaded health and fitness apps, she said, and global revenues from this, admittedly broad, category of apps is expected to reach over €100m this year.

But Kroes cautioned that improvements to fast-growing sectors like mHealth were dependent on broader developments in telecommunications, with issues still to be addressed included roaming fees and the blocking or throttling of data by telecoms providers.

“There's one thing that mHealth services are really crying out for – fast, reliable broadband networks, in fact our entire economy is crying out for them too.”

She concluded: “mHealth is an exciting and promising field and we all stand to benefit.”

27th February 2014

From: Healthcare

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