There is a pressing need for more sustainable healthcare systems around the world. The costs of providing health services to ageing populations in developed economies are spiraling out of control, while resource depletion in developing economies is threatening the health of millions.
The global healthcare bill is now thought to top $6.5 trillion (£3.9tn) a year. A key to more sustainable healthcare is encouraging people to take more control of their own health through the use of mobile and telehealth technologies, many experts and technology companies believe. Consultancy PwC says the European Union (EU) alone could save 99bn euros (£80bn; $135bn) by 2017 if it adopted more mobile health – or “m-health” – solutions. Efficiency gains from the better use of technology could allow 24 million more patients to be treated with the same number of doctors and healthcare facilities, the report concludes. And about 93bn euros could be added to the EU’s economic output if 18 million people with – or at risk from – chronic disease were helped to extend their working lives, it says