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The financial services industry is taking an interest in mHealth.
Leading the way is Fiserv, a Brookfield, Wis.-based provider of financial services technology, which earlier this month unveiled the Mobile ID Healthcare Card. The service enables health plan members to display images of both sides of their ID card, including the industry-standard barcode, on mobile devices, thus giving insurers a mobile pathway to connect members with their account information.
"It's common practice to be asked for your ID card when you check in at your doctor's office. We've all had to hunt for our card, especially if the appointment was an emergency. With Mobile ID Healthcare Cards, you don't have to worry whether you have your physical card with you, because you can access a virtual copy of your physical card from your smartphone or tablet device," said Jorge Diaz, president of output solutions for Fiserv, in a press release. "Additionally, you can email or fax your card information to the office staff from your mobile device rather than waiting for a copy of your card to be made. It's an easy way for insurance companies to give members a safe, convenient alternative to access their ID card anytime anywhere."
Company officials say the service if available on all smartphone and tablet devices, including iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
Fiserv's new offering aims to take advantage of what is being called a "mobile revolution in healthcare," as predicted by research2guidance in its 2010 study, titled "Global Mobile Health Market Report, 2010-2015." According to that study, smartphone applications will enable the mHealth industry to connect with an estimated 500 million smartphone users (out of a projected total of 1.4 billion) by 2015.
More importantly, research2guidance analysts expect that mHealth business models will expand as the market gets more sophisticated. They expect only 14 percent of the total market revenue to come from application download revenue by 2015, while 76 percent will come from related services and products.
While crediting Fiserv for its new venture and saying insurance companies should gain from its experience in the market, investment research company Zacks pointed out the "formidable players" – namely, Mastercard, Fidelity and Total System Services (TSS) – that may take note and come out with their own products. In addition, Zacks said Fiserv will face a threat from billers and self-sufficient financial institutions that use their own electronic payment transactions and Internet banking solutions.
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