mHealth Market Enters Growth Stage

Talk about mHealth’s potential has run rampant for years. Finally, there’s substance behind all the buzz, according to a report from Research2Guidance, a Berlin, Germany-based market research company.

The market for mHealth app services will reach $26 billion by 2017, according to “Global Mobile Health Market Report 2013-2017.”    

This growth is occurring as the market continues to expand under its “commercialization” phase.  During this period, growth stems from a massive increase of offered solutions, the creation of new business models and increased interest in mobile health from consumers, patients and corporations. As a result, mobile health application developers are better able to successfully monetize their offerings, according to the report. 

Indeed, it has become commonplace for consumers to leverage their smartphones to manage and improve their health. At the same time, healthcare professionals are beginning to tap into mHealth applications as well.  About 15% of mHealth applications are specifically designed for healthcare professionals and include CME (continuing medical education), remote monitoring and healthcare management apps.

Research2Guidance reports that there are 97,000 mHealth applications in major app stores, with 42 percent of them adhering to the paid business model. During the next phase of development – the “integration” phase -- mHealth applications will become an integrated part of doctors’ treatment plans and health insurers will become the main payer, especially for the more advanced mHealth solutions.

As a result, five years from now, mHealth will evolve to become a mass market with a reach of more than 3.4 billion smartphones and tablets with access to mobile applications. By that time, 50 percent of these users will have downloaded mHealth applications, according to the report’s predictions.