If you aren't yet convinced that the future of health care, and particularly medical device innovation, is in mobile health and in the developing world, today's purchase of Nokia by Microsoft should be proof enough.
Why? Because of the underlying reasons why Nokia was valuable: its Asha line of smartphones, of which it has estimated it will sell billions in the next few years.
One of the most surprising facts I've heard this past year is that more people now own a mobile phone than a toothbrush, and that number is only growing (mobile phone purchases, and not necessarily toothbrushes, unfortunately). And as mobile phones continue to expose people around the world to new opportunities, managing their health will certainly be one of their top priorities.
For those of us who are invested in improving the human condition, this means that many billions more people will have access to an advanced computer with an embedded camera (their mobile phone) than will have access to medical clinics or physicians. And that number will keep accelerating as mobile penetration grows.
Just as Microsoft is betting that this accelerating adoption of mobile phones will enable them to jump ahead of their developed-world focused competitors, medical device companies should also start thinking about how their technology can serve a global market that until now could not access the same standards of care available to people in OECD countries.
Which is why we're supporters of the mHealth Alliance, and its efforts to expand awareness of the potential of mobile technology to save lives and improve the human condition. And we hope you, too, will join us in this push to make world-class diagnostics available to anyone who has access to a mobile phone.
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