Physician resistance hampering mobile healthcare IT initiatives

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According to a study published by global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), clinicians in developed countries are reluctant to embrace mobile health (mHealth) technology, reports Healthcare IT News.

The PwC paper, titled “Emerging Health: Paths for Growth,” includes extensive research gathered by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which analyzed healthcare trends in 10 nations. Results of the report indicate that physicians in developing countries were more receptive to the implementation of mHealth technologies than those in developed nations.

“Consumers are demanding and payers are willing to pay, but providers aren’t willing to provide,” said Christopher Wasden, PwC’s global healthcare innovation leader, as quoted by the news source. “What we are going to need to do is get providers to think and act differently. To what extent are physicians in their country willing to adapt?”

The study suggests that mHealth is seen as potentially disruptive to Western healthcare business models as it places more control in the hands of the consumer. Physicians in developed nations are reluctant to provide patients with greater access to their medical records as they incorrectly assume it will negatively impact profits, according to the news source.

Although widespread acceptance of mHealth technology has yet to become reality in the U.S., some companies are seeking to capitalize on the potential for mobile devices and software in the healthcare IT sector.

According to MedCity News, San Francisco-based AliveCor has developed a product that connects a small wireless device to iPhones that enables patients to provide physicians with sophisticated electrocardiograms from their mobile handset. To date, the company has raised more than $13 million in venture capital funding to further develop the product.

Officials at AliveCor claim the device could significantly reduce the costs associated with cardiac monitoring for healthcare organizations and provide patients with a more personalized treatment regimen.