Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Developments Highlight Newfound Prominence of mHealth

2010 is shaping up to be a busy year for mHealth. In June, the West Wireless Health Institute and the Carlos Slim Foundation announced a new partnership aimed at advancing wireless health technologies in the U.S., Mexico and other Latin American countries. The declaration came at a meeting of leading mHealth implementers and was accompanied by the news that the Gary and Mary West Foundation has pledged another $25 million to help accelerate the recruitment of new talent and the funding of research on wireless health solutions. And last week, the organizers of this year's mHealth Summit revealed that major health and telecom players such as Verizon Wireless, Pfizer and Microsoft Research would be participating in the event as sponsors.

After years in which many participants in those sectors have held back due to uncertainty over business models and standards, these developments signal that the field of mHealth is acquiring a new maturity. Operators such as Vodafone have created business units specifically to realize new opportunities in mHealth. Health-related firms are also stepping up their involvement in the space, as evidenced by McKesson's recent hire of Vital Wave Consulting's own Karen Coppock to head up their corporate foundation's new Mobilizing for Health initiative (click here for more information on this program).

The increased activity in mHealth indicates that private-sector firms are realizing the potential for profits in the delivery of mobile health services. As the world heads toward its five billionth mobile connection, the ubiquity of mobile technology and advances in health-related mobile capabilities are combining to create a critical mass of opportunities. Business models for profitable mHealth lines are still being worked out, but a growing number of companies are realizing that plunging in now gives them the chance to shape these opportunities to their advantage.

Editor's Note: Vital Wave Consulting would like to thank Karen Coppock for her many contributions as VP of Consulting Services and wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor!