Axel Nemetz, Vodafone’s Head of Health Solutions, has told Mobile Health Live that two thirds of the financial value of the mobile health market will come from remote monitoring of patients. Nemetz said Vodafone has seen “a significant increase” in customer interest in patient monitoring over the past 18 months.
The mobile operator recently announced a partnership with Boston Scientific, the US manufacturer of medical devices, that will launch a remote monitoring service towards the end of 2012. The service will deliver real-time patient data to doctors over Vodafone’s mobile network.
“The pharma industry is excited if it is growing at five, ten or fifteen percent. Our excitement is at a different level,” Nemetz said about the extent of interest in remote monitoring services.
Such services are often cited as the major healthcare market for mobile operators but Nemetz’s comments as the head of health for a major operator puts more weight behind the optimistic predictions.
Vodafone’s head of health is among the keynote speakers at the forthcoming GSMA-mHealth Alliance’s Mobile Health Summit.
Remote monitoring may be the most important mhealth market but it’s not the only one, says Nemetz. Within the one-third remainder of the market he cites interactive services as a growth area. For instance participants in pharmaceutical trials are more likely to stay engaged with the trial if they receive regular contact. Messages delivered to their mobile devices is an effective way of doing this.
Vodafone divides its mobile health customers into four categories: medical equipment vendors such as Boston Scientific; pharmaceutical firms; healthcare providers and payers such as hospitals and insurance companies; and consumers. Three of the categories, or business models, are B2B with the final one being a B2C arrangement.
Such segmentation helps Vodafone understand who pays for its service which is always one of the key challenges, said Nemetz: "Everyone appreciates the value of mobile health but when it comes to who should pay then the discussions start," he said.