$23bn m-health market exists for operators – GSMA
By Emeka Aginam
AT the just concluded Mobile Health summit held in Cape Town, South Africa, a new report from GSMA has revealed that there was increasing demand for mobile health services, predicting that the market will be worth US$23 billion by 2017.
The GSMA represents the interests of about 1,200 operators in the mobile system worldwide in more than 220 countries. The new study titled “Integrating Healthcare: The Role and Value of Mobile Operators in eHealth’ is part of the GSMA’s Pan-African Health Initiative to drive collaboration efforts between mobile operators and the public/private sector to increase access to underserved communities.
It follows from the research completed by the GSMA on how the connectivity between individuals and healthcare practitioners can be improved by providing means and incentive for healthcare to occur over the mobile change. The research also indicates that as mobile operators continue to develop their capabilities to connect people and businesses in increasingly more sophisticated ways, they will face a number of challenges.
Managing Director, GSMA Development Fund, Chris Locke in a telephone interview with Vanguard Hi-Tech last week during the Mobile Health summit in South Africa said that, “Over the past few years we’ve seen mobile operators delivering end-to-end healthcare solutions which have typically been provided by the traditional systems integrator but there is clear evidence supporting operators’ emerging role in e-health.
He added: “Today, operators have evolved and are best placed to deliver the solutions addressing the issues that the global healthcare industry faces, by lowering costs and making healthcare more accessible.”
According to him, there was huge gap in Africa regarding mobile phone use in health, adding that mobile phone if well used can facilitate access to health. The healthcare industry, according to Locke, was undergoing a fundamental shift as demand from patients for services outside of traditional healthcare settings, such as hospitals and clinics, increases.
“This in turn is driving increased demand for mHealth services, with the mHealth market estimated to be worth US$23 billion by 2017. In addition, operators are also developing ICT capabilities that enable them to serve the larger eHealth market, such as cloud-based medical records and imaging as well as in the provision of health information exchanges. This larger eHealth market is estimated to be worth up to USD$160 billion in 2015,” Locke added.
Meanwhile, leading mobile operators are expanding beyond their core capabilities in consumer voice and data, to global business integration capabilities, the report added.
According to the new study, mobile operators are now integral to areas such as cloud computing, enterprise collaboration, machine-to-machine integration and integrated payments to support core clinical and operational processes.
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