There will be 1.4 billion people with smartphones worldwide by 2015, and 500 million of them will be using mobile health applications, according to a new study from German analysis firm research2guidance. Smartphones will be the catalyst to bring mobile healthcare out of the "trial phase," the Berlin-based company says.
"Our findings indicate that the long-expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen. Both healthcare providers and consumers are embracing smartphones as a means to improving healthcare," Ralf-Gordon Jahns, the company's head of research, says in a press release posted on the research2guidance blog.
Today, major smartphone app stores carry about 17,000 health-related apps, and 74 percent of them require payment. Consumers are driving most of the market as they look for ways to manage their own health, but 43 percent of apps are targeted at healthcare professionals, mostly in the form of continuing medical education, remote monitoring and healthcare management, the study says.
As the market evolves, expect to see more apps supported by healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and advertising, research2guidance forecasts. "With the growing sophistication level of m-health applications, only 14 percent of the total market revenue in the next five years will come from application download revenue" Senior Research Analyst Egle Mikalajunaite says. Instead, 76 percent of total revenue related to m-health apps will stem from "related services and products such as sensors," Mikalajunaite adds.