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UK faces 'mountain high' barriers to mHealth adoption

Doesn't help that industry shorthand is little understood by consumers

Digital pharma blogWider adoption of mhealth technology in the UK has a 'mobile mountain' of barriers to overcome, not least because industry shorthand is little understood by consumers.

Research by legal firm Pintsent Masons and YouGov found that, prior to being given a definition of mHealth, the majority (73 per cent) of respondents didn't know what the term meant. Worse, even when it was explained, 90 per cent stated they never used mHealth services, despite the examples given including established applications such as fitness apps.

The online survey of over 2,000 adults found a lack of consumer understanding is acting as a major barrier to the development of mHealth products and services, which include everything from booking medical appointments on mobile to monitoring chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Despite on-going attention paid to privacy issues in the media a significant majority (62 per cent) of respondents suggested they were unconcerned about the privacy of their medical data.

Matthew Godfrey-Faussett, partner at Pinsent Masons, suggested that with the majority of consumers expressing trust in the NHS, as well as being comfortable with the privacy of their data, the public sector will be central to the longer term adoption of mHealth technology in the UK.

Nevertheless what Pinsent Masons termed the 'worried few' – in reality more than 1 in 3 (38 per cent) of the people they asked, still raised some serious concerns, advocating having stricter controls over their data than are currently available.

The survey also found that in some cases the groups most likely to benefit from such developments showed less enthusiasm than other sectors of the population, while basic applications proved more popular than those that might genuinely transform patient care. It also found:

• 31 per cent of respondents agreed mHealth services could improve the NHS

• 33 per cent of respondents would be willing to use mHealth services to have their health monitored remotely.

On whether mHealth services could make their lives easier, over twice as many people in full-time work agreed than retirees: 33 per cent v 14 per cent

More retirees were resistant to being remotely diagnosed via mHealth technology than those working full time, 29 per cent v 16 per cent

Respondents were most receptive to using mHealth services in relation to appointments, with 50 per cent stating they would be willing to use an application to book one.

13th January 2014

From: Healthcare

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