mHealth: at the top of the 'hype cycle'?

Jon Linkous’ article (on the American Telemedicine Association blog) has attracted great attention. Its basic premise is that mHealth is heading toward the top (Inflated Expectation) of what Gartner calls the ‘hype cycle’ (where all is bright and shiny and the next big thing–as telecare was circa 2005, midway now through the next phase, the Trough of Disillusion). In his opinion, mHealth is heading for a fall for the following reasons: many of these companies have great solutions looking to find a problem or even a market; even the stronger products still have not found a substantial enough market and are burning through investors’ money; no one (in the US) really knows how healthcare reform will shake out (since it’s dependent on the slow pace of regulatory implementation, and we’ve an election coming up in November which could reset that button).  A consumer private pay model does not seem to be working right now except for simple apps.  Linkous advises that mHealth services need to find a way into how healthcare is currently organized and financed; this editor [Donna] believes that this is trying to catch up with a target about to blow up and perhaps to think several more steps ahead.  ATA blog.  Further analysis:  recommend Paul Sonnier’s commentary on the Wireless Health Group on LinkedIn (membership required to access.)

3 thoughts on “mHealth: at the top of the 'hype cycle'?

  1. mhealth top of the ‘hype cycle’
    great article Donna, brace! for an E-health reality-check.
    It’s hard to find fault with Mr. Linkous analysis.

  2. mHealth vs. eHealth
    Reality check indeed. FYI Paul Sonnier made the ‘terminology’ point over at Wireless Health/LinkedIn (mobile is wireless but not necessarily the other way around).  But if you divide up the broader eHealth category, they are in different, not so clean, phases. Telecare (remote behavioral and sensor monitoring) is in a different part of the curve than mobile devices, yet new entrants in fall detection (the mobile aspect of Wellcore, Halo) feel quite different than PERS, QuietCare, WellAWARE; you can make the argument that the former should be earlier on the curve. Telehealth devices that are tethered (Bosch Health Buddy, Intel Health Guide) are not really wireless but eHealth nonetheless. You have telehealth that’s M2M and Bluetoothed (MedApps, Ideal Life) but used mainly in the home and not really mobile. And telemedicine (video conferencing) is largely not wireless (sometimes in part) and not mobile. Oh, it does make your head spin!

  3. Wireless and Mobile Health

    Donna, I’d just like to clarify that my contention was that the way MobiHealthNews had seemed to define mHealth meant that iRhythm was not mHealth (they described their coverage as the “convergence of two industries”, hence implying cellular wireless telecommunications technology and healthcare). As such, I couldn’t understand why they covered iRhythm in their reporting. (Also, why report on Zeo?)

    However, even though no credible entity seems to have stepped up and provided a realistic definition of mHealth (i.e. one that encompasses wireless functionality and concomitant mobility provided by wireless technologies beyond the cell phone, e.g. Bluetooth, ZigBee, Ant+), I have been capturing it as part of a definition I’ve put forth for wireless health: The convergence of wireless communications technology (RF – Radio Frequency) with the continuum of clinical healthcare (preventive, chronic, and acute) and consumer health (physical fitness, wellness, and mobile aging). Particular emphasis is placed on the wireless gathering and transmission of health-related information and concomitant mobility of people and resources.

    Furthermore, while wireless health and mobile health (mHealth) overlap in most cases, there are outlier products on the market:
    • Mobile / Not Wireless
    – iRhythm – Does not have wireless functionality (commensurately, does not provide real time patient monitoring, unlike products from CardioNet and Corventis)
    • Wireless / Not Mobile 
    – Calypso Medical Technologies – Wireless, but the patient is immobile during the radiation therapy procedure
    – Zeo – Wireless, but the consumer user is sleeping during use
    – RFID Surgical Sponge Detection – ClearCount Medical Solutions and RF Surgical Systems

    Best regards, Paul

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