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Education, health and mobile are becoming joint forces, trying to change the status quo by improving its own industries using technology.

To know more about the potential in this areas and the changes that are coming we’ve interviewed Adrian Godfrey, Director, mLearning & mHealth Ecosystems at GSMA.

Why is GSMA interested in mHealth implementation?

The pressures on healthcare systems have never been greater, due to factors including rising expectations, ageing populations and, particularly in emerging economies, the combined challenges of infectious disease and increasing incidence of chronic illness.

The GSMA believes that Mobile health solutions provide an opportunity to help healthcare providers deliver better, more consistent and more efficient healthcare, increasing access to health services and empowering individuals to manage their own health more effectively.

In what specific areas or geographic regions do you think mHealth will have a greater impact in the short term?

Short term opportunity depends on the healthcare system and broader economic setting within a country – for example, short term opportunities in Africa include solutions to monitor epidemics and provide individuals with tailored advice, eg Ebola outbreak – whilst in Europe opportunity is in B2B collaborations with medical device sector to deliver connected solutions.

Some critics say mHealth implementation is too slow compared to other industries. Do you agree? Where there are the bottlenecks?

mHealth is a fairly new but complex area of healthcare and as such the industry must develop through new ecosystems and partnerships. Our Mobile Operators have identified the following priority areas of action to aid the development of this new industry sector:

  • Establish a clear and suitable regulatory environment and policies that support investment and innovation in mHealth.
  • Promote technical standardisation and interoperability of mHealth solutions.
  • Build the evidence base and educate key stakeholders regarding the types and benefits of mHealth solutions.
  • Facilitate experience sharing across mobile and healthcare sectors and work closely with users – both healthcare professionals and patients – across the product development process.

When it comes to mHealth, many users are worried about the security and privacy of their data. How can telcos, app developers and institutions make sure that user’s data is secure and private?

The GSMA and its members understand these concerns and take privacy very seriously. We have established a Mobile Privacy Initiative to address consumer concerns and foster confidence and trust for mobile users. Through this initiative, the GSMA has developed a set of Mobile Privacy Principles which describe the way in which mobile consumers’ privacy should be respected and protected when using mobile applications and services.

  • GSMA encourages its members to apply these Principles when launching new services.
  • GSMA is also working with its members and mobile industry stakeholders to promote a set of Privacy Design Guidelines for Mobile Application Development. The Guidelines are intended to ensure apps are developed in ways that respect and protect the privacy of users and their personal information. Privacy matters to individuals and it matters to us.

Do you think the mHealth Competence Center in Mobile World Capital Barcelona could add value to the job you are doing as a Director of Health and Education in GSMA?

I believe that the Mobile World Capital Team and the mHealth Competency Centre understand the capabilities and value that Mobile Operators can contribute to realising the vision of global mHealth.

My team works hard on promoting ecosystem growth in this area and it is good for us to see the mHealth Competency Centre taking a lead role in creating an environment, amongst multiple sectors, that will enable mHealth to achieve its full potential. These activities provide real value to our work.