Mobile health (mHealth) solutions that allow patient consultation and monitoring, and efficiency and connectivity in the enterprise among other benefits, are surging in popularity as the spread of smartphones and tablets expands, says healthcare industry analysts GlobalData in a new report.
The latest research states that the global mHealth market was worth $1.2 billion in 2011, but will jump in value to reach $11.8 billion by 2018, climbing at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39%.
mHealth involves the use of mobile applications and devices to monitor a patient’s health remotely and is streaking ahead as the fastest growing segment within the telehealth and telemedicine market.
GlobalData attributes the substantial predicted growth to the widespread use of mobile phones that allow faster, easier and broader access to healthcare services. Products such as the iPhone, as well as Android and Blackberry platform devices all offer applications that cover a wide spectrum of healthcare topics, from fitness and nutrition to diagnostic imaging.
The large majority of the mHealth market is taken up by software and services, accounting for 80% of the total. The two other sections of the industry are hardware, which makes up 12% of the market, and network and connectivity, which occupies the remaining 8%.
The software and services portion of the industry is driven by rapidly emerging health apps designed to fill key gaps in the mobile healthcare market. Approximately 70% of available healthcare apps are consumer focused, while the remaining 30% are designed for medical professionals – the latter of which are typically more sophisticated and can offer clinicians access to patient information and the ability to conduct further analysis such as creating 3D anatomical models.
The report shows that the U.S. is the main market for mHealth solutions and made a contribution of $660 million to the global market in 2011. Europe and the Asia-Pacific region contributed $420 million and $120 million, respectively.