GSMA predicts mHealth market growth, hospitals to reap $2.4B share

Predictions of the global growth continue to mount, the latest coming from the EU's Group Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA). The newest prediction: The worldwide market for mobile health revenue will top $23 billion by 2017.

Perhaps one of the report's most interesting numbers for hospitals--healthcare providers themselves account for just over 10 percent of that amount, earning about $2.4 billion in 2017, according to the report, produced by PwC for GSMA.

The report breaks down the big mobile services of the future. For example, mobile monitoring services will account for a whopping 65 percent of the mHealth market in five years, researchers say. The big drivers will be chronic disease management and aging-in-place technologies in developed countries like China. Chronic disease management alone will earn nearly $11 billion in 2017.

Diagnosis services, too, will be a major component, comprising 15 percent of the market, although much of that will be in developing countries, the report notes.

The market already is settling into some distinct, and in some cases separate, segments, according to the report, such as wellness, monitoring, and treatment. GSMA's report went so far as to specify how much revenue each emerging segment will make by 2017. Note that areas of the mHealth app market that are red-hot right now, such as wellness, are expected to be far further down on the revenue scale within five years.

  • Monitoring: $15 billion (65 percent)
  • Diagnosis: $3.4 billion (15 percent)
  • Treatment: $2.3 billion (10 percent)
  • Health practitioner support (decision-support, education, etc.): $1.1 billion (5 percent)
  • Wellness: $700 million (3 percent)
  • Prevention: $200 million (1 percent)
  • Administration: $100 million (1 percent)
  • Health surveillance support (public health): $100 million, (1 percent)
  • Emergency response, $0.0, (0 percent)

Globally market development will be a bit uneven, with developed nations have a major head start, the data shows. Europe and Asia-Pacific will make up the largest market, with a 30 percent share, fllowed closely by North America (U.S. and Canada) at 28 percent. Latin America and Africa represent seven and five percent shares, respectively, by 2017.

The report points out market barriers that U.S. healthcare providers have heard before--regulatory obstacles, problems with physician acceptance and user adoption. The one surprise in the analysis was a note that governments, to drive mHealth adoption, "need to mandate the use of mobile health services by public healthcare providers and also incentivize private players to adopt these services," the authors say.

The GSMA predictions show a similar meteoric growth to other industry research groups. ABI Research last fall projected the mobile health app market would grow to $400 million by 2016, and recent statistics from Research2Guidance put the mobile health app and device market at $718 million in 2011 alone.

To learn more:
- check out the GSMA announcement
- download the full GSMA report (.pdf)