New o2 m Health exec could learn from US examples

POSTED BY Global Administrator
If you are an operator looking to diversify the "revenue pool" as basic data and voice services become commoditised, areas like M2M and m Health are a good place to start. UK operator o2 is the latest operator to look at the potential of the health sector, and its moves to do so follow initiatives from Vodafone to do the same at the end of last year.

The devil is in the execution of any strategy focused on the health area, even though there is anecdotal evidence that individuals are willing to pay for m Health services. McKinsey & Co, for example, surveyed 3,000 households in India, China, South Africa, Brazil and the US, and found that 70 percent of those polled were interested in at least one m Health product, and that many were willing to pay for it.

In the US, a quarter of those contacted said they would pay for an m Health product, interviewees admitting that they would pay as much as 20 times what they pay now for mobile subscriptions for useful m Health products.

But, and its a fairly big but, m Health is dependent on a high degree of collaboration between players across the different industries and in many instances a direct route to market is lacking. Doctors, physicians, pharmaceutical companies and governments are all responsible for the provision of healthcare and convincing them of the benefits of m Health can be an uphill struggle.

That is why the appointment of a GlaxoSmithKline executive, Keith Nurcombe, to head up o2's new healthcare division is savvy. No doubt he will be taking a few trips across the pond to see how the likes of MedApps and CardioNet are faring. Perhaps because of the structure of the US healthcare industry and the role of private health insurance there, though still an infant, m Health appears to be in rude health in the US of A.