Consumers are more enthusiastic about mobile health than healthcare professionals according to a study conducted for PwC Global Healthcare by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). In the developing world, users see mobile technology as a means to improve their access to healthcare while in richer countries it is perceived as a way to make care more convenient as well as reducing cost and boosting quality, says the study. But those working in health have more reservations:  Respondents point to a lack of established business models and are reluctant to encourage mhealth app usage.

The EIU study says the healthcare industry is less enthusiastic than consumers about mhealth. The problem is not technical “but rather systemic to healthcare and inherent resistance to change,” says David Levy, PwC’s global healthcare leader. Read the full study here.

The study includes two surveys conducted by the EIU: one of consumers and the other of physicians and healthcare payers (governmental and private) across ten markets in the developing world and the west: Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.

As an example of consumer enthusiasm, the survey found about one half of consumers forecast that within the next three years, mobile health will improve the convenience (46 percent), cost (52 percent) and quality (48 percent) of healthcare.

The healthcare industry is more conservative with 64 percent of doctors and payers saying mhealth offers “exciting possibilities” but the sector lacks proven business models.  Only about one quarter (27 percent) of doctors encourage their patients to use mhealth apps. And 13 percent of doctors actually discourage their patients from using apps.

Also interesting is the insight offered by the survey into how patients engage with health apps. More than two-thirds of consumers who have used mhealth wellness or fitness apps that rely on manual data entry dropped out after the first six months, indicating how the industry needs to find ways to keep users engaged.