SCOTUS Decision Likely to Indirectly Affect mHealth

The recent ruling on the ACA by the Supreme Court has certainly caused quite the stir. Comment boards, Facebook statuses, and dinner-table discussions around the country have revolved around this ruling, for better and for worse. Will the SCOTUS decision affect mHealth? According to David Lee Scher, MD, it will. In his recent article at, with the millions of people affected by it, mHealth may be able to help those who may benefit the most. He discussed five ways SCOTUS is going to affect mHealth, which are:

  1. The healthcare infrastructure will benefit from digital and mobile health technologies: Because resources will be stretched thin as millions of uninsured Americans scramble for insurance, Scher believes that Medicaid providers will likely find the easiest way to communicate with new enrollees will be by enrolling them in mobile programs. He said that “it would be much easier to provide public service announcements that include how to donwload an app to enroll or obtain information on benefits than hire thousands of customer service representatives creating countless hours of telephone waiting time and the purchase of streamed music for the wait.”
  2. The increased demand for mHealth will necessitate a more industry-friendly regulatory process: Recent talk of the FDA regulating mobile health apps has made app makers everywhere a bit antsy. However, the SCOTUS decision may cause the mHealth to be in more demand than ever. This will hopefully create a better regulation process, that is unique to mHealth, and “not adaptation of the same processes with retrofitting of definitions and reviews.”
  3. Health information exchanges will be critical for Medicaid success: With the expected growth of Medicaid, the states that are behind in health care IT for Medicaid will likely be forced to get more up to date.
  4. Patient engagement will become a necessity: People are going to have to become more involved with their health care. mHealth technology will help with self-management, from diagnosing symptoms, making appointments, and finding providers through the use of mobile apps. Hospitals and physicians will also benefit by being able to transmit public service announcements.
  5. It will expedite transition from fee-for-service to bundled and outcomes-based reimbursement, facilitating mHealth adoption: The bundled and outcomes-based reimbursement model is far more economical and efficient than fee-for-service. Because mHealth has those same qualities, it will likely be used in the outcomes-based reimbursement.

I think Scher has made some good points and that mHealth will most definitely be affected by the SCOTUS decision. He summed up his article very well, in my opinion, with this:

So while the SCOTUS decision will not directly affect mHealth, its ramifications will, in my opinion, not only facilitate by create the absolute need for proliferation and adoption of the technologies. It will also foster a participatory medicine mentality by necessity, and mHealth will be there when it happens.

About the author

Katie Clark

Katie Clark

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.