Background Note | HBS Case Collection | April 2014 (Revised January 2015)

Note on Mobile Healthcare

by John A. Quelch and Margaret L. Rodriguez


Delivering health care to the global population was a challenge. Health care costs accounted for ten percent of world GDP by 2013. In the U.S., health care costs were expected to top $3.1 trillion in 2014. New technologies, shortages of trained personnel and lengthening life expectancies were accelerating the growth of health care costs. Physicians often failed to engage patients in preventative care, which many believed would help combat the rising costs of treating chronic conditions. Diabetes and hypertension, in particular, afflicted many developed nations and were a growing threat in the developing world. Mobile health (mHealth) used networked devices to distribute or collect medical information from patients and/or medical personnel. Given its low cost and broad reach, many wondered if and how mHealth could help solve the global health care crisis.

Keywords: health care; mobile; mobile app; public health; Startups; hardware; software; telemedicine; global; medical devices; medical services; medical solutions; entrepreneurs; government and business; technological change; Health Care and Treatment; Entrepreneurship; Government and Politics; Technological Innovation; Health Industry; Technology Industry;


Quelch, John A., and Margaret L. Rodriguez. "Note on Mobile Healthcare." Harvard Business School Background Note 514-122, April 2014. (Revised January 2015.)