At the Mobile Summit, health care professionals, humanitarian groups, mobile network operators and government representatives also discussed some of the challenges with mhealth. For example many programs are still in the pilot stages, governments have yet to regulate issues such as patient confidentiality and liability, and network operators and other telecommunications industry groups want mhealth to develop an eco-system that will be a financially sustainable business model.
No one expects to get rich but the general consensus was that if mhealth is based solely on philanthropic funding, the innovation will not survive.
Craig Friderichs works with the mobile health initiative for GSMA, a global trade organization for the world's largest GSM network operators including Vodacom, AT&T and Orange. GSMA and the Mobile Health Alliance sponsored the summit precisely to get groups and individuals working in mhealth to address those challenges, as well as share successes.
"We can really transmit or help patients at the bottom of the pyramid in the poorest communities, in the most under-serviced communities, with the most basic phones and connectivity," Friderichs said. "And we believe that the reach or the penetration of mobile into these underserviced communities and the ubiquity that mobile is bringing to these communities has the potential to literally revolutionize the way we deliver health care services."
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