Mobile healthcare was a $1.5 billion industry in the U.S. last year, but the market is expected to triple in five years, reaching $4.6 billion by 2014, according to a new report. The growth could be even greater if pay-for-performance gains wider acceptance, says the report, from Overland Park, Kan.-based CSMG, the strategy division of consulting firm TMNG Global.
Still, like the healthcare system as a whole, the m-health market remains highly fragmented, with no real dominant players. It's a complex sector that will require collaboration between traditional healthcare companies and new entrants, such as telecommunications providers.
"Mobile network operators, device OEMs and software providers bring technology capabilities and consumer-brand assets that current healthcare players may lack," says CSMG Senior VP Susan Simmons. "New collaborations and new business models with traditional healthcare players along with thorough evaluations on the m-health solution approach will be key to establishing the m-health industry for the long term."
The report also says adoption of electronic medical records will help drive mobile health technologies, but notes that the market won't reach its full potential without broad healthcare payment reform.