Governments, health organisations, and insurers look for ways to streamline healthcare delivery and control costs. Organisations across the healthcare value chain are realising the potential of embedding machine-to-machine (M2M) technology into mobile health solutions. Mobile network operators (MNOs) have already begun exploring this opportunity, developing M2M-enabled solutions for various applications including remote patient monitoring, medical asset tracking, and healthcare workflow organisation.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Embracing M2M Opportunities in Healthcare: The Case of Orange Business Services and Telefonica, studies the success of two MNOs to reveal how telecom can build a stronger presence in the healthcare industry. The research finds that after North America, Europe offers considerable growth potential for M2M in healthcare. Most European telecom operators have now dedicated M2M business units that focus on R&D, service development, and delivery. Frost & Sullivan estimates that M2M revenues of telecom service providers in Europe will grow to €2.6 billion by 2016, from €600 million in 2010.
“MNOs are well-placed to participate in shaping future healthcare delivery as they own the essential communications infrastructure needed for mobile communications to become a core tool in the industry,” said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Research Analyst Malgorzata Filar. “They have also built trust with their customers and can supply user-centric services.”
However, M2M providers for the healthcare sector will need to combat a significant degree of device fragmentation, understand strict local regulations, and be capable of dealing with a broad range of industry stakeholders. To successfully integrate M2M solutions into the healthcare system, providers will also have to offer value added service along with basic connectivity.
“Providing value-added services such as legal compliance, analytics, consulting and integration will require the creation of a sustainable ecosystem of stakeholders and collaboration partners from both the healthcare and technology industries,” noted Ms Filar. “MNOs must build health-related resources and expertise to be able to offer highly specialised M2M solutions. Designing a powerful M2M infrastructure supporting various healthcare needs and securing medical data hosting capabilities will also prove essential.”