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Projection and reality clash in PwC, Health Research Institute data

Despite PricewaterhouseCoopers predicting mobile healthcare to remain fashionable in 2015, there’s measurable hesitance on the parts of both patients and physicians to use mobile technology during the course of care, according to new research.

Most clinicians (86%) agree that mobile applications will become important for managing patients’ health within the next five years, according to survey data collected by the Health Research Institute. The number of mobile apps being created is reflective of the popularity of mHealth, which is the second entry on PwC’s 2015 issues list. The FDA, which has been regulating mobile apps for more than 10 years, is expected to review more apps in 2015 than any other year. Based on their level of risk to patient health, the FDA doesn’t regulate all of the mHealth apps available to physicians and consumers. Some clinicians (26%) said the agency’s approval would be their top criteria in determining whether they’d recommend a product to a patient.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) top issue for 2015, “do-it-yourself healthcare,” is also strongly tied to the advancement of health technology. In their responses to PwC, U.S. clinicians expressed their distrust for using data collected from patients’ mobile devices and apps. Nearly three-quarters (74%) said they would be uncomfortable relying on a mobile app or device that can check for an ear infection, and 53% expressed discomfort with using a mobile device or app to analyze a patient’s urine.

Clinicians’ reluctance to integrate new-age mobile technology into their care routines is surpassed by that of patients, according to PwC data. Only one-fifth of consumers said they’d be open to using a home urinalysis product. The ease of use and accessibility of mHealth data is considered one of its main draws for consumers. But patients’ responses to a Health Research Institute survey indicate they value secure data over convenience, with 71% saying the protection of their medical tests and imaging results is more important than having convenient access to that information.