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 mobile phones (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 realize true benefits. As a result, the global market for mHealth services is expected to record a revenue surge by 271.5% over the period 2014 – 2020.
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The global mHealth market is driven by the growing penetration of smartphones and 3G and 4G networks. This has made mHealth services accessible to a large consumer base and expanded the prospective target group. In addition to this, the increasing application areas of mHealth will also fuel the global market for mHealth services. Furthermore, the rising incidence of chronic conditions will also boost the demand for remote monitoring services. Nevertheless, the market’s growth will be challenged by the issue of measuring the outcome and effectiveness of mHealth solutions. Moreover, the strict regulatory norms in the U.S. will also suppress the global mHealth market.
mHealth service propagation involves collective efforts by network service providers, application developers, healthcare service providers, device manufacturers, and smartphone manufacturers, among other participants involved across the supply 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 mHealth services market is segmented on the basis of end-user into public/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.
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.