Melbourne, 6th December 2010.
Consumer-driven healthcare will gather momentum in 2011 as the public takes more responsibility for its own health, with technology playing a key role, according to Ovum.
In a new report* the independent technology analyst states that devices such as smartphones and tablet computers will help to drive the consumerisation of healthcare next year, by allowing the public to monitor health and prevent illness.
Cornelia Wels-Maug, Ovum senior analyst and author of the report, said: “Against a backdrop of increasing life expectancy, consumers are taking more responsibility for safeguarding their long-term quality of life and ensuring they continue to be healthy well into the future.
“The latest technology can play a key role and aid this shift towards the consumerisation of healthcare. For example smartphone applications can advise on ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, helping consumers to avoid illness in the first place. We expect consumers to turn to their smartphone or tablet computer for healthcare advice and preventative care more and more.”
According to the report, as well as smartphone and tablet computer apps, dedicated health and fitness devices are coming on to the market. For example leading US consumer electronics retailer Best Buy has announced that it is to start selling wireless-enabled health and fitness devices in more than half of its 1,089 stores.
Wels-Maug said: “The devices have the ability to transfer health information from the individual to websites such as Microsoft’s HealthVault. The data can then be shared with medical professionals so that they can monitor conditions and be alerted to any issues.
“Other retailers are sure to follow this example and we expect a stronger uptake of medical devices aimed at the consumer during 2011. We expect uptake to be stronger in the US, where retailers are ahead of their European counterparts in exploring this opportunity.”
“We also see a trend towards the use of devices like iPhones and iPads in healthcare in Australia”, commented Dr Steve Hodgkinson, Ovum’s Public Sector Research Director. As an example, Health Minister Nicola Roxon demonstrated an iPhone app developed by the government for accessing medical records at an e-health conference this week. A key enabler of the adoption of digital health records will be their convenience. “Apps running in secure cloud computing style services can be accessed anytime and anywhere from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.”