Pharma and healthcare ahead of other industries in implementing mobile strategies: survey

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82% of pharma and healthcare companies say they have a fully implemented mobile strategy.

Pharma and healthcare companies are ahead of the curve when it comes to mobile business strategies, according to a new survey from Red Hat. In the survey, 82% of healthcare and pharma companies said they have a fully implemented mobile strategy, compared with just 52% of all commercial enterprises surveyed in Red Hat’s broader study last year.

And that's not all. Of the 82% with a full mobile strategy, 78% said they are seeing a positive return on their investments.

Chad Holmes, Red Hat's director of mobile solutions, told FiercePharma that his group was surprised by the high percentages in adoption and positive ROI results, adding that it shows the industry is much further ahead in mobile than other segments.

He noted that while the ROI was a self-reported return, companies tend not to talk publicly about positive returns until they have solid evidence that the tactic or action is working.

Public and private healthcare, life sciences and pharma companies were included among the 200 IT decision makers questioned by research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Red Hat, but Holmes said the data showed that pharma companies were right in line with the overall findings.

The survey also looked specifically at apps as part of pharma and healthcare mobile strategy. It found that the average number of healthcare apps each U.S. company has will grow from 9 to 14 over the next year.

When talking about the drivers of mobile apps in healthcare and pharma in the U.S., 63% of those surveyed noted internal demands for better productivity, while 60% cited healthcare provider demand, and another 56% attributed the growth in apps to external patient demand. But next year the internal efficiencies and HCP demand drivers are expected to flatten or drop, while patients’ demand for mobile apps will increase to 60%.

More and more, pharma companies are exploring and launching mobile apps for patients and caregivers as part of beyond-the-pill health and wellness strategies to go along with medications. Sometimes, they’re even getting some help from doctors. IMS Health found in a study late last year that physicians are increasingly “prescribing” mobile apps to patients.