Researchers have addressed certain eHealth economics related issues.
This research has been published online in the Journal of Health Communication.
This research would help the countries to know how much they have to invest in eHealth (including mHealth) technologies. The authors in this research showed that there is little evidence to prove that spending on eHealth could result in considerable savings in health care systems.
The researchers have worked on three major issues;
- The costs of eHealth
- The benefits of eHealth
- Regulatory infrastructure
Costs of eHealth
Researchers have reported that currently there is no potential data available for eHealth costs and they considered the costs of non-health care technology (such as iPads being used in hospitals).
The researchers have also considered the mobile devices and their health related plans used by patients and practitioners as the costs of eHealth. They have also considered the cost by considering the mHealth services such remote monitoring of patients by doctors.
The researchers have reported that considering the infrastructure could help in decreasing the eHealth costs. They have reported that using cloud based technologies could considerably reduce the infrastructure costs. Moreover, “costs of wireless hardware and services are generally shared with non-health services, resulting in potential cost savings.”
Disjointed funding mechanisms of eHealth may lead to lacking of interoperability of various technologies. This could be addressed by developing innovative solutions that causes less confusion and greater interaction in different systems.
eHealth Benefits / Regulatory Structure
Researchers have reported that data on benefits could attract more of the public and private investments. This measurement of benefits or profits could help in the determination of cost-effectiveness of eHealth investment. Researchers have reported that benefits must address clinical and social outcomes.
You can see the abstract below;
While mHealth has the potential to overcome traditional obstacles to the delivery of health services to the poor in lower and middle-income countries—issues related to access, quality, time, and resources—there is little evidence as to whether the expected benefits and savings can be actualized on a large scale. As a first step to developing the investment case for mHealth, this article outlines some of the key economic and financial questions that need to be answered in developing in-country eHealth investments. The proposed questions focus on the costs of eHealth infrastructure; regulatory structures that provide incentives at different levels of the health delivery system to encourage investment in, and use of, eHealth; and measuring the outcomes of successful eHealth utilization, including anticipated return on investment.
Reference: Julian Schweitzer & Christina Synowiec, (2012). The Economics of eHealth and mHealth. Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, DOI:10.1080/10810730.2011.649158