mHealth technology could save almost €100 billion in healthcare costs in the EU by 2017 as well as add €93 billion in GDP, according to a new report from the GSMA.
The mobile industry association has teamed with PwC on a study that aims to demonstrate the significant socio-economic impact that mHealth adoption will have in Europe. Three main benefits are highlighted in the report: huge cost savings, improved lifestyles and ‘enhanced resource efficiency.’
In terms of cost savings, the report claims mHealth adoption could lower the total annual per capita EU healthcare spend for patients benefitting from mHealth solutions by 18 percent, or €537, while the technology could reduce care costs for chronic conditions by 30 to 35 per cent through improved treatment compliance and remote patient monitoring.
Lifestyles could be improved by providing 9.4 million people at risk of developing chronic diseases with access to earlier diagnosis, and enabling 11 million chronic patients and nine million elderly patients to benefit from remote treatment and monitoring. The report claims mHealth services could also help 185 million patients lead healthier lives and gain a combined 158,000 extra years of life.
Meanwhile the medical industry could become more efficient with the use of mHealth technology. For example, the report notes that mHealth services could accommodate the treatment of an additional 24.5 million patients without requiring more doctors or new healthcare facilities. And it could address the shortage of doctors across the EU by saving a combined 42 million doctor working days in 2017, extending treatment to an additional 126 million patients.
However, the report warns that unless a number of barriers to adoption are overcome – such as regulatory, economic, structural and technological challenges – the adoption of mHealth could be limited to about 10 per cent of its potential in 2017. “This will restrict the realisation of benefits to five per cent of their potential,” notes the report. The GSMA states that this could mean healthcare savings across the EU are limited to €6.6 billion, instead of the almost €100 billion predicted in 2017, while only 11.2 million patients of the potential 185 million would benefit from mHealth.