mHealth is one of the most promising approaches to extending access and improving cost efficiency of health care delivery in both mature and emerging markets.
To meet the urgent need for affordable, accessible health services across the globe, McKinsey combines its high tech, telecom, and healthcare expertise participants across the healthcare ecosystem develop and launch innovative mobile health (mHealth) strategies and solutions.
Watch a video on the benefits of and barriers to launching mHealth initiatives, or download the full version.
Most countries of the world face severe healthcare challenges. In developing countries, access to healthcare services is severely limited, leading to higher mortality from treatable diseases such as malaria. In developed countries, the cost of delivering healthcare is a major obstacle. Growth in spending on healthcare outstrips GDP growth in many markets, and the cost burden will be unsustainable if unchecked.
Quality of care is an enduring challenge. Consistent standards of basic care are absent in many developing countries. And higher costs of service in developed countries do not necessarily translate to higher quality care or better outcomes. In addition, the increased prevalence of both chronic conditions and conditions associated with rapidly aging populations present significant challenges universally.
These market and demographic factors make it imperative that health care industry players leverage new approaches such as mHealth, remote medicine, and telemedicine to improve access to health care and serve patients better and more cost effectively. With more than 80% of the world’s population having access to a mobile phone or device, mHealth offers a powerful opportunity for achieving quality and cost goals.
While many governments and a few providers have launched mHealth efforts, mHealth initiatives often struggle to reach commercial scale in part due to the breadth of capabilities required.
An array of specialists in McKinsey’s health care, telecom, and high tech practices work with companies, governments, and non-governmental organizations to develop and implement mHealth solutions that address the global healthcare challenges. Our teams bring extensive insight into the promise and the challenges of designing mHealth initiatives and incorporating them into system protocols and patient treatment plans. McKinsey assists organizations and companies in identifying potential markets for mHealth solutions, supporting partnership negotiations, developing pilot and launch plans for those solutions, documenting their impact once launched and scaling them effectively.
Examples of our work
Our goal in working with telecom and high tech service providers, governments and other organizations is to help them leverage their capabilities and assets to bring needed mHealth services to market quickly. We have assisted both integrated payor/providers as well as independent healthcare players develop mHealth strategies. Recent engagements included:
- Helping a large telecom provider establish a presence in healthcare and launch its first commercial mHealth product. McKinsey supported Strategy, Product Development, and Technology teams at the provider to develop and execute mobile health designs and a launch plan, and also assisted in identifying and supporting negotiations with third-party partners. The company is now expanding its mobile health platform.
- Assisting a regional health ministry in Africa by assessing health-related opportunities that could support social-economic development. A McKinsey diagnostic found limited access to basic health services by populations in remote locations, and developed a plan for a medical call center staffed by professionals who could provide remote diagnostics and first recommendations on medical treatment.
Featured podcast and interviews
- The future of mobile health. Alessio Ascari and Ajay Bakshi discuss the opportunities and challenges in the mobile health field, driven by both concrete needs and the global availability of a communications and technology infrastructure.
- Innovation in health care: An interview with Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic
Research, insights, and alliances
McKinsey is proud to be a founding convener and partner of the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery, an organization sponsored by the World Economic Forum to develop solutions, including mHealth solutions, which can be scaled to meet global healthcare challenges.
Several members of McKinsey’s multidisciplinary team of mHealth specialists have published original research and insights on the topics. Recent articles include: