the-structure-of-mHealth-and-mFitness (1)Mobilising Healthcare, a new report from Juniper Research, segments the mobile health sector into “healthcare” and “health & fitness” segments. The research summary notes that fitness is a relatively new market compared with health “care,” which has been around for eons. Fitness, the analysts say, “is exempt from government intervention.”

Mobile healthcare (“mHealth”) applications explored include SMS health messaging, remote health provision such as cardiac monitoring, electronic health records and personal health records. In mFitness, Juniper looks into mobile tech for athletes and fitness conscious people, and activity tracking including heart function, distance, respiration, and perspiration, among other parameters.

mHealth segments include “basic services,” remote treatment and diagnosis,” and remote patient monitoring including cardiac and chronic disease management. Separate from these applications, as the picture shows, are mFitness tools such as blood pressure cuffs, connected watches, connected pedometers, and connected wristbands, a topic I wrote about here in Health Populi following the 2013 Consumer Electronics  Show in The Battle of the (wrist)Bands.

Juniper Research’s calculations on the cost-savings opportunity from mHealth monitoring is $36 billion worldwide over the next five years, with the hulk bulk of the costs expected to be saved in North America.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  It’s important to get the context for mHealth just-right: in this era of constrained health budgets the world over, and especially in the U.S. as payment moves from volume-to-value, health should be seen in a person’s ecosystem – where they live, work, play and pray. Health is, in fact, everywhere — more specifically, healthy opportunities and choices are in multiple touchpoints in our lives every single day.

Changing the Paradigm with Personal Health IT (PHIT) to Transform Health Care, the HIMSS eConnecting with Consumers Committee white paper on Personal Health IT (PHIT) was published today on the HIMSS website. This is fortuitous timing in conjunction with the Juniper Research report.

We argue, in the HIMSS report, that patients have taken on more health engagement and many want to partner more fully with providers. By segmenting “mHealth” from “mFitness,” we construct a rather arbitrary chasm that can get in the way of providers and payors from understand the larger ecosystem view of patient/consumer/caregiver engagement with health and health care. For example, a person with diabetes (PWD) could benefit from using both categories of mFitness and mHealth tools, and evidence is mounting that engaging with both regular glucose testing, food journaling, exercise and mood tracking can bolster management of HbA1c over time. Without digital tracking, managing numbers in one’s head doesn’t help to manage chronic conditions nearly as much. The Center for Connected Health in Boston has a growing evidence based for consumer-provider connected health care – and growing rationale for payors to fund adoption of these technologies.

The blurring of “health” and “health care” compels us to get our definition of mobile health right – particularly in this era of value-based and accountable care, and consumers taking on more responsibility for clinical and financial decisions.