Yesterday, the Mobile World Live team launched the most dramatic mobile moments of 2012. We thought it only fitting for the GSMA mHealth team to end with a similar, dramatic ending to 2012. We’ve been trawling our websites, talking to people in the know and here is our list of dramatic moments to end another busy year.
In May, the U.S. telecommunications regulator announced plans to set aside spectrum to connect wireless medical devices for more convenient health monitoring or “Medical Body Area Networks”. Two spectrum bands for devices allow for doctors to monitor a patient’s vital signs at home or in hospital via low-cost wearable sensors. We wouldn’t be far off by quoting Neil Armstrong: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Another win for the U.S. was the House and Senate committee members’ agreement to amend legislation that would allow the FDA to go ahead with plans to regulate mobile medical apps. Hopefully this puts to bed the numerous reports and social media discussing how crowded app markets are with potentially harmful products.
The President of Smart Communications was quoted as saying: “… The role of the traditional telecom has become obsolete. In the digital era telecoms need to evolve into multimedia, intelligent companies.” To rebuff that, a number of mobile operators have invested significantly into healthcare: Japan’s Docomo, together with Omron Healthcare, a leading supplier of medical devices and services, invested into a subsidiary to offer a range of mobile enabled products and services. Vodafone is partnering with specialist firm Exco Intouch to launch a service that they say will enable pharmaceutical companies and researchers to better collect data from participants’ mobile phones during clinical trials. U.S. operator Verizon announced an equity investment in Nanthealth, a U.S. firm that is developing health services based on a combination of mobile devices, cloud computing and fibre network technology.
On the evidence front, mHealth’s ability to influence behavioural change seems to be gaining recognition but the jury is still out on the health economics of mHealth. What results can we expect to see in 2013 from the more than 220 [globally] registered RCTs in 2012?
With WellDoc paving the way for reimbursed health services supported by mobile, 2012 saw a handful of other companies successfully entering into agreements with payers and providers.
With a busy year almost behind us, we’re hoping that 2012 has been an incredibly good year for all GSMA partners, friends and colleagues.