Healthcare professionals see great value in mHealth apps but there are still many barriers to their widespread adoption, according to a new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

Interviews conducted as part of the study, Patient Adoption of mHealth: Use, Evidence and Remaining Barriers to Mainstream Acceptance, found that most healthcare providers were confident that mHealth can improve overall outcomes, reduce the cost of healthcare and encourage patients to take a more active role in improving their health.

However the report also identified several barriers to full adoption, including: a slow paradigm shift in reimbursement processes and delivery of care; data confidentiality, privacy, security and regulatory uncertainties; and lack of scientific evidence to measure the efficacy of apps.    

“While much progress has been made over the past two years, mHealth apps are still far from being a fully integrated component of healthcare delivery,” says Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute.

He adds: “Healthcare providers are actively addressing the remaining barriers. These include developing and adopting trusted platforms for ongoing apps curation and evaluation, creating practical reimbursement models and ensuring true interoperability within and across healthcare systems.”

The results also suggested that the while most available apps focus on overall wellness, healthcare systems and professionals are expressing greater interest and excitement in broader app use as these barrier are removed – especially in the area of chronic disease management.