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Mobile Devices To Transform Healthcare

PricewaterhouseCoopers finds the annual consumer market for remote health monitoring devices and services could reach $43 billion.

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Three in 10 Americans said they would use their mobile phone to track and monitor their personal health, and 40% would be willing to pay for a remote monitoring device that sends health information directly to their doctor, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute study.

The report, released Wednesday at the International mHealth Conference in San Diego, is further evidence that mobile devices such as cell phones and smartphones are becoming an increasingly significant factor in improving the way physicians and patients communicate.

The Healthcare Unwired study interviewed 2,000 consumers and 1,000 physicians regarding their use and preferences for remote and mobile health services and devices. The results indicate that wireless technology, remote monitoring, and mobile devices are changing the nature of healthcare, making it possible to deliver care anywhere in ways that can reduce healthcare costs and keep people healthier.

Among the study's finding are:

-- Remote healthcare is supported by 56% of consumers, and 41% would prefer to have more of their care delivered via a mobile device.

-- Thirty-one percent of consumers said they would be willing to incorporate an application into their existing cell phone or smartphone to be able to track and monitor their personal health information.

-- Four in 10 consumers said they would be willing to pay for a device and a monthly subscription fee for a mobile phone application that would send text and e-mail reminders to take and refill their medications, or to access their medical records and track their health. Receiving medication reminders sent via text would be helpful for 27% of consumers, and men are twice as likely as women to say they would use a mobile device for health-related reminders.

-- Forty percent of consumers would be willing to pay for a remote monitoring device and a monthly subscription that would automatically send to their doctor health information such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight.

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