mHealth can drastically reduce the cost of chronic diseases

The combination of increased prevalence of chronic disease and an ageing population that continues to grow is exacerbating the burden on healthcare delivery and costs across multiple EU member states. Budgetary constraints and a shortage of healthcare resources compound an already difficult situation.  

To tackle this challenge, innovation is needed for EU member states to make healthcare systems more sustainable and improve their citizens’ health. Improve lifestyles, enable remote treatment of chronic conditions and equip healthcare providers with tools to enhance the communication between them are some of the actions that can contribute to lower the costs of care while enhancing patients’ journey.

The recent report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the GSMA looks at the socio-economic impact of mhealth.

save EUR 99 Billion in healthcare costs!

According PwC, mHealth could represent up to  EUR 99 Billion in potential healthcare cost savings  in the European Union (EU) by 2017 if its adoption is encouraged.

  • mHealth solutions can influence patient behaviour to improve lifestyles : through education, awareness and by supporting citizens in making lives healthier, mHealth can potentially help reduce the incidence of diseases.
  • mHealth solutions enable chronic disease remote management through mobile-based communications technologies that support patient mobility and reduce the need to visit hospitals.
  • mHealth solutions enhance clinical decision-making and may optimize the use of physical and human healthcare resources by providing the system and staff with more information and tools for better analysis.

185 million patients across Europe can potentially benefit from mHealth. 98% of them can potentially  improve their lifestyles and their overall health.

mobile health can help detect chronic diseases early!

Let me now turn to chronic illnesses.

According the OECD,  around 30 million people were living with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) in the EU in 2011. Worldwide, someone dies from the disease every 8 seconds, more than AIDs and malaria combined (source: Diabetes Atlas IDF 4e Edition 2009).

Poorly managed diabetes and the complications it induces result in significantly high hospital admissions, increasing the cost of care and consumption of healthcare resources. Most notably, on average, 40% of diabetes patients are not aware of their condition until seven to eight years after the disease has developed, resulting in greater patient needs and management, and, overall, higher care costs.

mHealth solutions can  enable remote diagnosis and self-assessment of symptoms for patients at risk of developing chronic diseases, helping healthcare providers to detect diseases earlier and facilitating timely medical interventions.

PwC estimates that 815,000 patients can successfully detect chronic diseases early. These patients can potentially  avoid the development of complications and seek medical attention earlier, reducing the need for hospitalization and saving 3.7 billion EUR in treatment costs. Doctors and paramedic staff could save 472,000 doctor days by having to treat fewer complications.

In the second part of this article we will focus on the role of mhealth for diabetes management and on the fabulous initiative of the GSMA, the mHealth Grand Tour


This post is also available in French here.

image © Pavel Ignatov -

Caroline Crousillat

Spécialiste de la communication digitale, je donne vie à Orange Healthcare sur les réseaux sociaux jours après jours. Geekette dans l'âme, je reste à l'affut de toutes les nouvelles applications des technologies dans la santé mais aussi dans d'autres domaines.