The global market for mobile health is expected to reach $49 billion by 2020, according to a study by market research and consulting company Grand View Research.
Monitoring services is expected to remain the dominant and fastest growing market segment, with market revenue of $1.2 billion in 2012 and with an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49.7 percent from 2014 to 2020.
North America dominated the global market, accounting for 33.5 percent of total revenue in 2012. Highest demand originated from monitoring services, with growing incidences of chronic diseases necessitating the need for mobile health solutions, among others.
High per capita health care expenditure in developed markets is expected to be the key driver for regional growth. Driven by the need for accessible health care, the Asia Pacific market is expected to be the fastest growing regional market, at an estimated CAGR of 49.1 percent from 2014 to 2020.
Concerns among users regarding the safety and privacy of information, along with the need for secure infrastructure, are the key challenges for market participants, the report noted.
Meanwhile, an aging population and growing incidences of diseases linked to changing lifestyles have intensified the need for affordable and accessible health care.
Mobile operators accounted for 48 percent of the overall market in 2012, with the majority of their revenue originating from monitoring services such as independent aging solutions.
The market for health care providers is expected to grow slower than the global average, at an estimated CAGR of 45.1 percent from 2014 to 2020.
"Quelling credible concerns among users, along with availability of regulatory support is crucial for driving profitability of industry stakeholders," the report noted.
The study also suggested that in addition to the proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices, uptake of 3G and 4G networks would increase demand for telemedicine services.
Per capita health care expenditures have been increasing, which makes medical services unaffordable for a large percentage of the population. As a result, demand for mobile health is expected to increase considerably over the next six years.
Chronic disease management was the largest contributor to the monitoring services market, with higher demand from developed markets of North America and Europe.
The market for post acute care services accounted for 19.5 percent of the overall monitoring services revenue in 2012.
Diagnosis services are more prevalent in developing markets, and growing adoption of these services is expected to considerably augment access to health care in these regions.
The market comprises many stakeholders, including mobile operators, device vendors, health care providers and content players. Companies operating in the market differ on the basis of their offering, and play a key role in overall mHealth adoption.
Industry participants include AT&T, Apple, Google, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, SoftServe and Vodafone Group, among others.
Strategic collaborations and partnerships with health care providers, as well as resolving standardization and interoperability issues, are essential for mass acceptance, the report said.