10 trends to shape mHealth market through 2017

Over the next four years, 10 key trends that will shape the market for mobile health applications will emerge, according to a new report from research2guidance. The report is based on the statements and insights of 324 opinion leaders and mHealth app publishers interviewed and surveyed by the research firm.

By 2017, the report forecasts that the mHealth market will be a mass market with a reach of billions of smartphone and tablet users. "By that time, 50 percent of these users will have downloaded mHealth applications," states the report. 

According to the report, the following trends will shape the mHealth market between now and 2017 during the commercialization phase:

  1. Smartphone user penetration will be the main driver for the mHealth uptake.
  2. mHealth applications will be tailored specifically for smartphones or tablets
  3. Health applications will be native rather than web-based applications
  4. mHealth niche stores will become the home of the 2nd generation of mHealth apps
  5. Missing regulations are the main market barrier during the commercialization phase
  6. Buyers will continue to drive the market
  7. Applications will enter traditional health distribution channels
  8. mHealth market will grow mainly in countries with high Smartphone penetration and health expenditure
  9. 2nd generation mHealth applications will focus on chronic diseases
  10. mHealth business models will broaden 

Missing regulations, the fifth trend cited by the report, is the integrated phase. In this phase, states the report, "mHealth applications will become an integrated part of doctors' treatment plans. In this phase health insurers will become the main payer, especially for the more advanced mHealth solutions (2nd generation mHealth applications)."

"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," concludes the report. "Nevertheless, advanced solutions do exist."

In March, a separate report by research2guidance predicted that the mobile healthcare services market will begin the commercialization phase and reach $26 billion worldwide by 2017 as smartphone apps enable the mHealth industry to monetize these services.

Forty-two percent of the estimated 97,000 mHealth applications currently available in app stores adhere to the paid business model, according to that report. Given that more traditional healthcare providers are joining the mobile apps market, the report forecasted that business models will broaden to include healthcare services, sensor, advertising, and drug sales revenues.

To learn more:
- read the report