Researchers from Juniper Research,  a company that specializes in identifying and forecasting new high growth market sectors within the mobile ecosystem, have determined that the specific combination of a smartphone and an app store has created a market for mHealth apps which are forecast to reach 44 million by next year and 142 million downloads globally by 2016.

mHealth app downloads cover a wide variety of uses, varying from medical calculators to monitoring software. 

There are quite a few that are geared toward medical professionals, such as the InfantRisk Center Mobile resource, a guide for healthcare professionals who need quick access to reliable and up-to-date information on the use of various medications by their pregnant or breastfeeding patients.

The other end of the mhealth app spectrum can be found in health and fitness apps geared toward patients, such as Scosche MyTrek,  a bluetooth enabled armband and wireless pulse monitor that combined with the complimentary iPhone app is a great example of the emerging mHealth market in the age of ubiquitous computing.

The Juniper Research report gives a meticulous breakdown of the potential revenue streams and the initial, upfront costs involved in forging a sustainable and profitable mHealth market for mobile network operators, suppliers, healthcare professionals, consumers, as well as device manufacturers.

According to the report findings, Juniper Research approaches the potential market of this flourishing sector with two extensive forecast chapters, based on cardiac outpatient monitoring, chronic disease management, service revenues and smartphone shipments, as well as medical app downloads and content subscriptions. The report includes a five year forecast of the current state of the mHealth market.

The report also notes that the consumer focus of many of the mHealth apps and smartphone device attachments are driving the large number of downloads. These consumer oriented apps are resulting in mHealth concepts and ideas becoming more mainstream. Juniper Research report author Anthony Cox explains this push.

“Acceptance of new healthcare practices like remote patient monitoring will come directly from consumers becoming engaged in mHealth through the smartphone.”

Not only that, but the report outlines even more interesting findings.

  • “Clarification from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), on which mHealth apps will require FDA approval, is still required but is expected to add further impetus to the market.
  • Significant cost-savings can be achieved through remote patient monitoring in developed markets through the avoidance of hospital stays and outpatient appointments.
  • The US has a notable lead over other developed economies for remote patient monitoring due to the structure of the healthcare industry and insurance funding.”

Obviously, the report acknowledges limitations to the findings, noting the need for more trials to prove both the medical benefits and potential cost savings of advanced mHealth services.

Source: Press Release