Challenges and lessons learned in mHealth

Regular readers of the Healthcare Engagement Strategy e-Journal may already be aware that Creation Healthcare was a participant in the recent mHealth Conference and Expo during September this year. In his article on the impact of [intlink id=”mhealthdubai” type=”post”]mHealth for pharmaceutical companies[/intlink], Daniel Ghinn explores the importance of measureable impact, including:

  • Commercial outcomes
  • Patient / health outcomes
  • Outcomes for other stakeholders, e.g. improved efficiencies for doctors, pharmacists, payers

We also took the opportunity to ask delegates and thought-leaders from around the world about the future of mHealth through a series of video interviews.

In this second video report, it seemed appropriate to ask these experts to share some thoughts about the ‘challenges and lessons learned’ through their own experiences of implementing mHealth solutions.

Quite a few spoke of the organisations that are testing new concepts in mHealth with the developing world – with a view to understanding and modifying tools and technologies that may be successful in the developed world. The opportunity for these pilots has been possible due to the limited health infrastructure and a lack of traditional healthcare information systems, such as are found in the developed world. Dr Ruchi Dass makes the point:

“It’s a clear three-pointer: The disease burden is pretty high; the mobile penetration is big; you need technology to help or to reach out to these million people.”

Yet there are a number of recurring challenges. Possibly the most significant from an innovation perspective is to be able to [intlink id=”creationdiscovery” type=”page”]define and determine[/intlink] a commercial business model that has an appropriate return for the various stakeholders. Even where there is obvious intention to make a difference and create positive health outcomes, without a funding mechanism there is no viable way of deploying the solution.

Regulation, reimbursements and other governmental considerations make up another key aspect of a landscape which can be difficult to navigate through, when seeking to bring an mHealth solution from concept to reality. Hajo van Beijma suggests that companies should try to be immersed in the reality of the solution;

“…work with people in the country where you are active, and don’t think of anything alone in your big office. Try to collaborate on the ground as well. Then it could be more successful”

So many of the challenges, lessons learned, and resulting opportunities focus in on the efficiencies and economies that can be achieved through collaboration, and through really seeking to understand the needs of the stakeholders and ultimate beneficiaries – patients and healthcare providers.

Dr Ruchi Dass manages to simplify the nascent mHealth industry with an admonition to take action:

“Come on, let’s do it! Don’t think twice; don’t think about the 2G and the 3G, or anything of that sort. Whatever you have, with whatever infrastructure you find – just go. Deploy. See. I mean I think that is the way ahead. We have to start somewhere…”


Creation Healthcare is a worldwide healthcare engagement strategy consultancy based in London and Tokyo, with specialist consultants in fifteen countries providing local insights to inform global strategies. The consultancy has worked with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations since the late 1990’s.

If you are looking to increase engagement through emerging channels, [intlink id=”contact” type=”page”]contact us now for a conversation about how we can help you[/intlink].

Paul Grant

Paul Grant is Healthcare Engagement Strategist with global consultancy Creation Healthcare, where he leads digital behaviour research studies and advises healthcare clients on engagement strategies. He has been providing strategic insight solutions and professional services to the world's leading biopharmaceutical and healthcare organizations, helping them to find appropriate pathways to engagement within regulatory frameworks.