Mobile healthcare will be the primary driver behind massive growth in the digital health market over the next five years, according to analysis by research firm Parks Associates.
The company's latest report, "Delivering Quality Care to the Digital Home: 2010 Update," puts the digital health market at $1.7 billion in 2010, and projects that to skyrocket to $5.7 billion by 2015--a whopping 27 percent increase.
The growth will come in three primary segments of the mobile market: chronic-care monitoring; systems to allow seniors to age in place (medications management, etc.); and wellness and fitness apps and programs, according to Parks officials.
"Adoption of chronic-care monitoring will grow slowly, and medication management and senior fall-detection programs will expand at above-average rates," Parks' research team director Harry Wang said, according to a news release. "The real engines of growth in this industry will be mobile care solutions and tracking applications."
Parks' research points to the recent explosion of fitness apps, as well as the 2010 entry of Philips into the "healthy living" segment of the market with its new "DirectLife" service for fitness and wellness management. Another indicator of market potential: A new alliance formed last month at CES 2011 around this growing sector. Called The Aging Technology Alliance (AgeTek), it's made up of vendors that provide technology products and services to allow seniors to stay in their homes as they age.
The fly in the ointment: Wrangling over the healthcare reform law could significantly slow digital health's growth, by chilling investment into businesses developing the new technologies, Wang warns. "To move forward, this industry needs smart entrepreneurs and visionary industry leaders and a regulatory and reimbursement system amenable to innovative, effective and cost-saving technology advances," he says.