Understanding the business of mHealth
The mHealth market is garnering considerable interest today. Mobile health, commonly referred to as mHealth, is the use of mobile phones and other wireless devices to improve healthcare services. Rising medical expenditures have prevented a large section of the world’s population from accessing healthcare services. The affordability of highly advanced remedial care is still a major challenge in many countries. The penetration of smartphones and tablets even in low-income countries can be attributed to rapid urbanization and improved purchasing power.
The major applications of mHealth include using wireless devices to collect clinical data, deliver information to medical practitioners, patients and researchers, monitoring patients’ vital signs, and providing direct care via telemedicine.
Market segmentation and forecast
The global mHealth market can be segmented into various categories based upon services, ecosystems, and geography.
- Services provided: The mHealth industry provides numerous services such as diagnostic, monitoring, healthcare systems strengthening and others.
- Market ecosystem: The various components of the mHealth market are device vendors, mobile operators, healthcare providers and content players.
- Geographical landscape: The main regions that are covered by the mHealth market are North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World.
Nearly 63% of the global mHealth market is dedicated to monitoring services, followed by diagnostic and then healthcare systems strengthening. The monitoring services can be used in sensitive situations such as hypertension, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure, and because of this, the segment is also expected to be the fastest growing sector, as forecast by industry reports. In developed countries or those with higher income levels, the revenue generated by monitoring services is likely to be greater.
As far as the components of the mHealth industry landscape are concerned, mobile operators hold 50% of the market share, making them the largest sector of the overall market. This is followed by device vendors, content players and healthcare providers. Presently, mobile operators have been gaining maximum revenue from monitoring services, and diagnosis and treatment sectors are expected to gain popularity in the coming years.
Of the total mHealth market revenue, North America generates the maximum share, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. The Asia-Pacific sector is more focused on improving the healthcare labor force and systems. Among emerging markets, India has proven to be most promising with a number of mHealth solution innovations. As far as per capita expenditure is concerned, U.S. and Canada are the biggest spenders in the mHealth segment with rising incidences of chronic diseases and comparatively higher disposable income.
The worldwide mHealth market had an estimate value of USD 1.3 billion in the year 2012 and is expected to rise to USD 10.2 billion in 2018, recording a CAGR of 41.5% in that duration. Among all the segments, monitoring services has contributed maximum revenue to the industry, with 63% market share coming from that segment alone.
The development of the mHealth market is mainly stimulated by the rising number of smartphone consumers. This, accompanied with the introduction of 3G and 4G networks as well as growing awareness among people regarding mobile-based healthcare, has largely contributed to the success of this sector. Moreover, the widespread prevalence of chronic diseases and a multitude of mHealth applications at the service of patients have boosted the market for mHealth. What could help the mHealth market grow further are encouraging initiatives by the government and sponsored mHealth projects by different organizations. However, lack of security steps and need for better maintenance and control measures hinder the growth of the mHealth market.
Some of the active participants of the mHealth market are AirStrip Technologies, Qualcomm, AT&T, HealthSaaS, AllScripts Healthcare Solutions, Soft Serve, Vodafone, and mQure.