mHealth, a fast growing technology-driven service, is expected to change the way health services are delivered worldwide. It involves delivery of healthcare related services to end-users by medium of smartphones. Rising incidences of chronic diseases have elevated the need for accessibility of quality and low cost healthcare services for the masses. The situation has been further aggravated by the declining ratio of healthcare service providers to target population. However, proliferation and advancement of high speed networks across the globe, have paved way for mHealth services to realise true benefits. As a result, the global market for mHealth services is expected to record a revenue surge by 271.5 percent over the period 2014 – 2020, a study conducted by Transparency Market Research (TMR) has said.
mHealth service propagation involves collective efforts by network service providers, application developers, healthcare service providers, device manufacturers, smartphone manufacturers, among other participants involved across the chain. Considering the strict regulatory requirements and active role played by regulatory bodies in driving awareness and market penetration of social welfare activities, governments also become an integral part of any such delivery model planned for mHealth services, the study says.
The mHealth services market is segmented on the basis of end-user into public and private institutions, physicians and healthcare workers, and individuals. In 2013, individual users contributed the highest revenue share for mHealth services worldwide. This was due to increasing demand for personal health management and inadequate healthcare infrastructure in developing countries of Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World. In addition, growing aged population which requires and prefers healthcare solutions delivered at their doorstep, is adding to the potential consumer base for mHealth services. Among the application types, remote monitoring, collaboration and consultancy services is the fastest growing segment with demand predominantly contributed by growing base of patients with chronic diseases, which requires continuous or regular monitoring of health condition.
mHealth or Mobile health has lately witnessed increased activities from various industry participants across the supply chain. Owing to the rapid expansion of smartphones and other smart devices, it has become possible for stakeholders to deliver basic healthcare services to the prospective end-users.
mHealth market has witnessed diversified services being offered for patients or for the entire healthcare system. These services include, for patients – monitoring service, diagnostic service, and treatment service among others, and for strengthening of the healthcare system – emergency response, healthcare practitioner support, and healthcare surveillance among others. However, challenges such as stringent regulatory requirements and lack of standard solutions to measure effectiveness of mHealth services, have restricted quick adoption of these services, resulting in suppressed market growth. In spite of growth challenges, players in the market are actively involved in developing novel applications, developing new products, and introducing innovative services. Extensive research and development is undertaken to meet changing customer requirements, the study observes.
With regions such as North America and Europe, which have well developed infrastructure and healthcare system, the mHealth services market has seen quick adoption and high market penetration, resulting in high revenue shares. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to record the highest growth rate due to the high concentration of potential customers, especially in countries such as China and Japan. This growth potential is further expanded by the capability of mHealth solutions to streamline healthcare processes and efficiently deliver healthcare services in hard-to-reach areas, thereby enabling social development.
For the latent growth potential exhibited by regions such as Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World, mHealth services market in these regions holds high priority for the industry players. Renowned players which are driving industry developments globally include AT&T Inc., Apple Inc., Airstrip technologies Inc., Alcatel-lucent, Cerner Corporation, Qualcom, Inc., Diversinet Corp., Koninklijke Philips N.V., SoftServe Inc, Symantec Corporation and Vodafone Group Plc among others.