(i) Poor infrastructure:
- The rural population has very poor network connectivity.
- Most of the poor population cannot afford to buy a decent smartphone which will give them access to mHealth.
(ii) Security concerns:
- In the case of mHealth apps, there is no way to know if the app developer has taken appropriate measures to ensure security and protect his/her app against malicious attacks.
- When the same phone is shared by several persons, it is difficult to maintain privacy and direct the message to the relevant person only.
(ii) Huge volume and fragmented market:
- More than 1,65,000 mHealth applications are available across the iTunes and Android app stores.
- Many mHealth apps are of dubious origin and abandoned by the developer after an initial release or one update.
- There is no way for a prospective user to know which apps can be trusted.
(iii) Lack of awareness:
The Government of India has launched a few mHealth initiatives. However, lack of awareness is a huge deterrent.
(iv) Text-based services do not work in remote rural areas because a considerable proportion of people are still illiterate.
(v) Patients find cost, lack of relevant applications and provider’s unwillingness to use mHealth to be the top barriers to adoption.
(vi) Manual intervention: Be it the use of SMS, apps or audio/video consultations, a lot of manual intervention is necessary in the case of mHealth, which makes it unattractive.
(vii) Lack of regulatory issues, logistics and availability of appropriate, need-based, customised solutions are some of the major challenges in the way of widespread utilisation of mHealth.