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mHealth market to grow by 61%, will hit $26 billion by 2017

By Jennifer Bresnick

mHealth is about to hit the big time, says a new trend report by Research and Markets.  The industry is poised for an explosion of growth, with a compound annual growth rate of 61%, bringing the market to $26 billion in value by the year 2017.  As smartphones continue to drive consumer demand for health-related tools, apps will become more sophisticated and mHealth business models will broaden, the research says.

As providers embrace mHealth in the office, and accept patient-generated data on a larger scale, consumers will continue to see value in tracking their health through smartphone apps and tablets as apps become more tailored to the needs of patients, especially the chronically ill.  More and more apps will focus on the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, even as the Baby Boomer generation ages into the need for long-term care of such conditions.

“The general sophistication of today’s mHealth applications is low to medium, and many of the mHealth categorized applications provide a limited benefit for patients, doctors and health interested smartphone users,” the report says. “Nevertheless, advanced solutions do exist,” and will increase in sophistication as the market exists the initial trial phase of mHealth and enters the integration phase. “This phase can be characterized by a massive increase of offered solutions, the creation of new business models and the concentration on private, health-interested people, patients and corporations as major target groups.”

The explosion in potential revenue won’t come from selling the apps themselves, the report predicts, but rather from using applications as gateways to sell subscription monitoring services and physical add-on devices used to take measurements.  The study found that 50% of mobile users will have downloaded at least one mHealth application within the next five years, opening up a huge market for secondary services aligned to traditional healthcare avenues.

With Stage 3 of meaningful use likely to include provisions requiring providers to accept patient-generated data, such as information collected from mHealth apps, the two industries will work together to further each other.  “This growth projection is based on the assumption that private buyers will continue to be the primary spenders in the next five years, but that the integration of mHealth applications into traditional health care systems will also become more and more common during that time.”




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