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India's mobile user base best for mHealth services

26 April 2013
Mobile connectivity and data transmission is still a challenge in the rural markets as is disparity in infrastructure, says a Frost & Sullivan report

The number of mobile health (mHealth) initiatives in India is likely to grow thanks to the robust mobile technology infrastructure and the launch of 4G. Changing disease profiles, increased adoption of smart phones, advancements in mobile technology and greater focus on health and wellness are factors that will contribute to the growth of mHealth in India, says a report by Frost & Sullivan.

Healthcare: Cyber wards

Currently, there are more than 20 initiatives for mHealth in the country. It is still a fledgling concept and most of the initiatives undertaken are only a couple of years old. The market has very few successful business models and it will be at least two to five years before a successful model emerges. This is due to the large disparity in mobile infrastructure in rural and urban India, the report said.

While the urban market continues to witness growth in mobile handset uptake, mobile connectivity and data transmission is still a challenge in the rural markets. In addition, quality healthcare is centralised in urban centers, while there is a dearth of medical workforce in rural markets, the report said.

The healthcare industry is hoping that mobile platforms will close the disparity in service provision. With the increasing penetration of mobile services in rural areas, mHealth solutions can strengthen the healthcare delivery system for the rural population. This will happen only with a collaborative effort on the part of policy makers, telecom providers, and mHealth solution providers.

The rural population should be educated about the benefits of mHealth services, while the urban population should be encouraged to use mHealth applications to modify and monitor their lifestyle. "Once these objectives are realised, the mHealth application market in India is expected to develop significantly over the period of next five years," the report said.

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