Smartphone user penetration will be the main driver for the mobile health (mHealth) uptake, with mHealth applications tailored specifically for smartphones or tablets and will be native rather than Web-based applications, according a report from Research2guidance.
The report projects that five years from now, 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. By the end of 2017, the total mHealth market revenue will have grown by 61 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach a multi-billion dollar level.
The main sources of revenue will not come from application download revenue itself, but from mHealth services and hardware sales, as applications will serve as platforms to sell other health services and hardware.
"This growth projection is based on the assumption that private buyers will continue to be the primary spenders in the next five years, but that the integration of mHealth applications into traditional health care systems will become more and more common during that time," the report noted.
The market for mHealth applications is developing along three different phases. Currently mHealth players have managed to exit the initial trial phase and have entered the commercialization phase of the market.
This phase can be characterized by a massive increase of offered solutions, the creation of new business models and the concentration on private, health-interested people, patients and corporations as major target groups.
The study includes a forecast of the mHealth and total app user base until 2017, an analysis of the user number by mHealth service type, and a mHealth sensor shipment projection until 2017.
The report also notes 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.
Missing regulations was cited as one of the major barriers for the mHealth market to enter the next market phase of integration. In this phase, mHealth applications will become an integrated part of doctors' treatment plans and health insurers will become the main payer, especially for the more advanced mHealth solutions, the report said.
The report also includes a forecast for mHealth market revenue until 2017, a breakdown of future revenues by revenue type, a forecast of mHealth app downloads by business model—both free and paid, and an analysis of the average downloads per mHealth user per year until 2017.