Mobile heath adoption to surge to 157M users by 2020

More than 157 million people will be using mobile health tools in four years, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The spike in adoption is due to increasing provider initiatives aimed at battling infectious diseases and improving infant mortality. Apps, messaging and interactive voice response tools increasingly are being tapped to provide healthcare in remote areas, according to an announcement.

The research firm, according to a whitepaper, also expects remote patient monitoring for chronic illness to spike from 400,000 users in 2016 to 1.4 million worldwide by 2020.

"The use of remote monitoring is set to rise swiftly as new entrants gain [U.S.Food and Drugs Administration] approval," the paper's authors write. "However, our research noted that there is a need for new entrants to prove their hardware is able to measure health indicators with the same accuracy as standard medical devices."

Use of mHealth tools is proving to be beneficial for many patients. For instance, simple mobile phone reminders may help people become more active. In addition, reminder features, financial incentives and gamification can foster behavior changes, according to Sean Phillips of Berlin-based consultancy research2guidance.

Juniper's research also cites hurdles preventing faster growth, including a lack of sustainable business models in developing initiatives, limited Internet access in rural areas and low literacy rates in some potential user populations.

Juniper highlights several current projects, as well as major trends, such as the use of crowdsourcing to develop efforts, taking place in the worldwide digital health market. The whitepaper notes that digital health is sparking a shift in the healthcare model, overall, to accountable care.

For more information:
- here's the announcement
- download the whitepaper