Mobile health IT proponents must address security issues

Consumers worry sensitive health data will be hacked.

Technology developers will learn in the next three to four years how to better secure sensitive health data sent to and from mobile devices, reports the market research firm Frost & Sullivan. Those breakthroughs are needed to allay concerns about data security.

Cellphones and mobile monitoring technologies offer significant opportunity to monitor and communicate with patients remotely, but users continue to say they are worried about hackers stealing their health data, Frost & Sullivan concludes in its report, “Advances in mHealth Technologies,” (registration required).

“Data generated by mHealth applications find maximum potential in monitoring and optimizing the health-care delivery chain," industry analyst Prasanna Vadhana Kannan says in a news release that summarizes the findings. "Technology developers should focus on improving their understanding of this pattern so they can offer a compelling argument for the adoption of this technology."

The researchers contend that “regulatory agencies and medical establishments need to strike a balance between the risks and benefits of specific mHealth applications, distinguishing between applications that require strategies suited to an emerging market and those that have the potential to surpass other health-care systems,” Vadhana says. “This can be achieved through collaborations between regulators and technology operators.”

That means mobile operators need to provide developers with generic service platforms to build upon, according to the report.