Feeds

Hmm, you do look ill. I prescribe a good dose of mobile data

Oh thank you, Dr Mobenbiz

High performance access to file storage

Adopting "mobile health" - the use of mobile technology as an interface between health providers and patients - could apparently save the EU €100bn by 2017, and make us €93bn too, if only governments would get out of the way and let it happen.

That's according to beancounters PwC who were hired by mobile industry body GSMA to create an economic case for mobile health applications. The accountants have utilised the old favourites of manipulation and extrapolation to do what they were paid to do, despite the lack of empirical evidence that iPhones can make us feel better.

Mobile Health is all the rage right now, partly because the pioneers of mobile telecommunications are feeling their own mortality these days and partly 'cos there's still plenty of money in healthcare while other European budgets are shrinking.

The gold rush of mHealth pilots has recently led to a total ban on new projects in Uganda, and a partial ban in South Africa, as governments struggle to control the tsunami of well-intentioned charities rocking up with a case of iPhones and the expectation that locals will welcome whatever half-baked scheme they have in mind.

But the GSMA reckons Europe remains ripe for an mHealth explosion, and is using these numbers (€100bn saved and €93bn gained annually from 2017) to justify its demand for greater government investment in the use of mobile phones in healthcare.

Those numbers (pdf, densely packed in slide form) are based on the premise that reminding people to take their medicine, by text or e-mail, will improve their health. The PwC assumption is that half of those getting mobile prompts will do better, reducing the burden on doctors and hospitals.

But that assumption ignores the evidence from various studies which found prompting achieved little or no improvement, such as the Dutch study last December:

"We found some, albeit very limited, indications that in certain cases mobile phone messaging interventions may provide benefit in supporting the self-management of long-term illnesses. However, there are significant information gaps regarding the long-term effects, acceptability, costs, and risks of such interventions."

Despite that PwC reckons prompting patients will reduce the cost of care by at least 30 per cent, 45 per cent if the patent is old, and that's just the start.

Doctors will apparently get 30 per cent more time, thanks to being able to look stuff up on their phones rather than using that nice big monitor they have in the consulting room, and there'll be fewer patients anyway as our phones start pestering us to take more exercise resulting in an astounding drop in chronic diseases and lifestyle disorders of between 50 and 73 per cent.

That's the €100bn in savings taken care of, and the €93bn of additional income results from all those healthy people contributing to the economy. Once our phones are telling us when to exercise, what to eat and which pills to take, why, then we'll hardly need doctors at all - according to the accountants from PwC.

There is some truth in the GSMA's arguments that we need greater government engagement in an ongoing adoption of handheld tech in the medical community. The £1.59 iPhone app, already being used in A&E to calculate drug dosages, demonstrates where an unregulated open market can lead, but these days the separation of mobile and other IT seems increasingly artificial - health departments need policies on software and hardware, not mobile and fixed.

The GSMA represents the mobile network operators, so obviously it sees things differently. It wants to promote mHealth as a trending topic, and the promise of €100bn in savings should do that even if the truth is rather less exciting. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.