Organizations across the health care supply chain are realizing the potential of embedding machine-to-machine technology into mobile health solutions, according to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. Mobile network operators have already begun exploring this opportunity, the firm says, developing M2M-enabled solutions for various applications including remote patient monitoring, medical asset tracking, and health care workflow organization.

Research by Frost & Sullivan finds that North America and Europe offer “considerable growth potential” for M2M in health care. Most European telecom operators have now dedicated M2M business units that focus on research and development, service development and delivery.

"[Mobile network operators] are well-placed to participate in shaping future health care delivery as they own the essential communications infrastructure needed for mobile communications to become a core tool in the industry," Malgorzata Filar, Frost & Sullivan information and communication technologies research analyst, said in a statement.

But M2M providers for the health care sector will need to overcome a significant degree of device fragmentation and be capable of dealing with a range of industry stakeholders, the firm says. To successfully integrate M2M products into the health care system, providers will also have to offer value-added service along with basic connectivity.

"Providing value-added services such as legal compliance, analytics, consulting and integration will require the creation of a sustainable ecosystem of stakeholders and collaboration partners from both the health care and technology industries," Filar said. "MNOs must build health-related resources and expertise to be able to offer highly specialized M2M solutions. Designing a powerful M2M infrastructure supporting various health care needs and securing medical data hosting capabilities will also prove essential."

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