Smartphone-based fitness and mHealth device users to rise to 100 million by 2018

Smartphones are set to take center-stage in mHealth
By Dillan Yogendra
10:09 AM

Smartphones are set to take center-stage in mHealth, complimenting traditional stand-alone mHealth monitoring. A new report from UK-based Juniper Research predicts the next five years will see a major advance in smartphone-based mHealth, where hardware attachments link to a companion app on a smartphone.

The report, ‘Mobile Health & Fitness: Monitoring, App-enabled Devices & Cost Savings 2013–2018′, forecasts that there will be 96 million users of app-enabled mHealth and mobile-fitness hardware devices by 2018, up a total of 15 million on this year. In the healthcare sector, app-enabled mHealth will be used to drive services ranging from remote patient monitoring to mobile ultrasound services.

However, the report found that it will be the mFitness sector that will set the pace, experiencing strongest growth in the short and medium term. According to the report, this growth will be driven by a motivated target market, an increasing demand for lifestyle consumer applications, as well as a diversifying array of attachments. App-enabled mFitness will reach maturity ahead of smartphone-based mHealth, although it ultimately represents a much smaller market in terms of user numbers and revenue. Crucially, it will also serve to educate the wider market regarding what is possible through smartphone attachments: “As mobile fitness devices become more widespread, they will pave the way for more critical mHealth services delivered through the smartphone”, says the report’s author Anthony Cox. “While mHealth and mobile fitness are two discrete markets – with divergent audiences – increased usage of the former will stimulate wider awareness of the latter”

In addition, the report forecasts cumulative cost savings from remote patient monitoring of up to US$35 billion over the next five years as the healthcare industry approaches accountable care. Well-documented trials illustrating health and cost-benefits crucial to convince stakeholders of the value of mHealth are also flagged. Finally, aging populations and the increased prevalence of chronic disease is forcing healthcare stakeholders to reconsider how healthcare is addressed in developing and developed markets, it is stated.


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