mHealth apps forecast to increase threefold by 2012

By Molly Merrill
10:21 AM

More than 200 million mHealth applications are in use today, and that number is expected to increase threefold by 2012, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

The 44-page report, "Health Check: Key Players in Mobile Healthcare," written by analyst Denise Culver, provides an overview of the emerging mHealth market, focusing on various conventional, hybrid and new technologies that are creating new business models.

"Healthcare solutions that are delivered via mobile technology are creating a new frontier of innovation that is driving down costs, increasing access, and improving quality of care," said Culver.

"And even as mHealth connects, informs, and protects patients and caregivers in powerful ways, it also opens up many opportunities for mobile network operators like AT&T, BT, Orange, and Telefonica; original equipment manufacturers including Apple, RIM, and Ericsson; hardware and software vendors, such as Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, and Google; and a new breed of device and application providers that specialize solely on mHealth, including CardioNet, Epocrates, and NowPos," she adds.

Key findings cited by the report are:

  • 70 percent of people worldwide are interested in having access to at least one mHealth application, and they're willing to pay for it.
  • Technology and telecommunications providers are well positioned for developing, extending and marketing mHealth applications. They have established relationships with healthcare providers and payers, and many benefit from large, global scale. Additionally, they possess technology capabilities and consumer-brand assets that healthcare players lack. In addition, many already understand the distribution and go-to-market requirements of consumer-oriented devices.
  • The value proposition of mHealth is strong, giving technology and telecommunications providers a clear role in addressing the needs of the healthcare industry. MHealth has proven to provide cost-efficient delivery to healthcare; improves patient outcomes; increases the availability and access to healthcare so patients can take ownership of the data and increase the responsibility for their own health; and increases patient access to healthcare by breaking down the barriers of time and location.
  • The technology is ready but physicians and providers need to address several challenges for mHealth to become as widespread as possible. Traditionally, healthcare providers are reluctant to change technologies because of the time, cost and process alterations required. Furthermore, the healthcare industry as a whole is a slow adopter of technology, and regulatory issues often slow the process of change even more. The security of mobile technology also remains an issue, especially when combined with the sensitivity of private healthcare information.

"[Mobile Network Operators] MNOs can leverage mHealth applications as part of an enterprise vertical-differentiation strategy," said Culver.  "They have the chance to create mHealth solutions that combine voice, messaging, data, security, and other current offerings, which will increase customer loyalty and create value-added services," she aid.

Click here to learn more about the report.