The global mobile healthcare market, which includes connected medical devices, healthcare applications, and related mobile technology, is estimated at $6.336 million in 2013 and is poised to reach $20.683 million by 2018 at a CAGR of 26.7%, according to a report by Markets and Markets.
Connected devices dominate the current market with around 85% of the total revenue contribution, according to the study. Among different applications, cardiac monitoring and fitness tracking are the most prominent uses of mobile-enabled connected devices.
The mobile application market is in an introductory phase but is highly fragmented with an ample number of software-developing companies. A major restraining factor behind the growth of paid apps is the free access to maximum smartphone apps. Free apps constitute almost 90% of the download market of healthcare applications. Plus a significant price difference between health and medical apps lowers the adoption rate among healthcare professionals. Though the number of downloads of health apps contributed almost 90% to the healthcare applications market, revenue contribution by these apps was not significant due to average price range of $1-$2 per download. Consideration of a mobile application as a medical device is also a questionable issue, although the FDA is formulating a framework to regulate the apps market. As of now, there are a few certified applications in the unstructured gamut of the application market. Rising popularity may increase the download price of device-independent healthcare apps; hence, the revenue contribution to the mobile health market is expected to be more significant.
Major driving factors of the mobile health market include the growing adoption of smartphones, tablets, and PDAs, increasing awareness of chronic disease management, advanced connectivity such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, robust penetration of 3G and 4G network, and a promise of better cost efficiency during medical practices. On the other hand, stringent FDA and EU regulations, and data insecurity, restrict market growth. Inappropriate patient-doctor ratios in underdeveloped countries, and other potential mHealth platforms such as smart TV, promise prospective business opportunities in the global mobile health market.