Mobile health solutions are surging in popularity as the spread of smartphones and tablets grows, according to a new report by healthcare industry analysts GlobalData.
The latest research reveals that the global mHealth market was worth $1.2bn in 2011, but will surge in value to $11.8bn by 2018 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 predicted growth to the widespread use of mobile phones that allow faster, easier and broader access to healthcare services.
Products such as the iPhone and Android and BlackBerry devices all offer apps 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, which accounts for 80% of the sector. 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 market 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 US is the main market for mHealth solutions and made a contribution of $660m to the global market in 2011. Europe and the Asia-Pacific region contributed $420m and $120m respectively.