In UK, mHealth an Unfamiliar Concept to Most

12-23-2013 2-43-12 PM

According to a new survey conducted by Pinsent Masons in the UK, the mHealth market overseas is still significantly limited by general lack of public awareness. The survey, which polled 2,000 UK adults, found that 73 percent of the public did not know what the term mHealth meant. After hearing an explanation of the term, 90 percent reported that they’d never used an mHealth service, including fitness apps, patient portals, and disease management apps.

When asked about security concerns associated with mobile health and their privacy, 62 percent reported that they were not worried about their privacy. The 38 percent who reported that there were worried were able to agree on some key corrections that would help dispel those concerns. 59 percent of these respondents said that simple controls, like being able to give consent each time their data was used, or being told how their data was being used, would make them feel better.

The survey goes on to explain use cases for different common mHealth models, asking respondents if they would be comfortable relying on apps for these services. Respondents were most comfortable appointment booking app. This makes sense, because in the UK, all appointments are already booked through a centralized web-based application called Choose and Book. 50 percent of respondents reported being comfortable using a mobile app in conjunction with requesting appointments.

Beyond appointment booking, a majority of respondents were not supportive of adopting mHealth tools. Only 33 percent reported being “willing to use mHealth service to have their health monitored remotely.” Older respondents that were retired,  the most frequent users of health services, were the most resistant to mHealth services. Only 16 percent were comfortable being remotely diagnosed with a condition, compared to 29 percent of full time workers that were comfortable with this idea. Only 14 percent of retired respondents agree that mHealth services could make their lives any easier.

With little understanding of, or enthusiasm for, mHealth services in the UK, researchers conclude that the best way for mHealth to get a foothold in the market would be to get the NHS to help increase public awareness and trust.

"Our survey clearly shows that in order to convert standalone mHealth products and services into viable and sustainable UK business propositions, the support of the NHS will be a key prize…The survey results indicate that the UK public’s enthusiasm for mHealth would not currently sustain serious consumer-driven revenues. Whilst attitudes will change, the challenge in the interim will be for UK mHealth businesses to operate for long enough to allow that change to happen." – Matthew Godfrey-Faussett, Partner at Pinsent Masons

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