Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Smartphone apps fuelling rise in mhealth market, says Visiongain

Steve Rogerson
June 2, 2015
The advent of connected devices and M2M is offering a tremendous opportunity for healthcare professionals, according to a report from Visiongain. Near-ubiquitous mobile networks are allowing carers to diagnose, monitor and communicate with patients with unprecedented speed and efficacy.
The report calculates the global mhealth market will reach $10.33bn in 2015. Fuelling this is the emergence of low-cost smartphones, allowing wider access to app stores, which are now home to more than 100,000 unique mhealth apps. These range between free apps geared around diet and daily fitness routines, scaling up to costly premium apps with elaborate clinical reference points, images, diagnostic and monitoring functions.
Austerity measures have forced many health departments around the globe to rein in their spending and find more cost-effective ways of operating. Enabling them to diagnose, monitor and communicate with patients remotely, mhealth promises extensive cost-savings for healthcare professionals and institutions.
This new industry will also pay dividends to network operators, software developers and data platform management providers who may turn their core competencies onto the medical field.
• A report by Allied Market Research says the global mhealth market was valued at $10.5bn in 2014 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.5 per cent during 2015 to 2020. Blood pressure monitors hold the largest share in the global mhealth device market followed by blood glucose monitors and cardiac monitors.
Geographically, North America will continue to retain its leading position in the overall mhealth market throughout the analysis period, it predicts.
Mobile health provides health service and information through mobile communications devices to address the health priorities and concerns. The advanced mobile and wireless technologies have transformed the face of healthcare services across the globe and are rendering the growth of the mhealth market.
Moreover, the continued growth in coverage of mobile cellular networks, rapid advances in mobile technologies and applications, increasing lifestyle diseases and growing awareness among patient population in emerging economies, are some of the key factors fostering the growth of the global mhealth market. However, the lower accuracy of devices, technology infancy in middle and lower income economies, weak reimbursement coverage, uncertainty in government regulations in certain regions, and low adoption among ageing population is hampering the market growth to a certain extent.
The major chunk of the mhealth devices market (71 per cent) is collectively commanded by blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors and cardiac monitors. The large share of these monitors can be attributed to increased affordability of mobile compatible devices, integration of technologies in monitoring devices and the increasing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, stroke, COPD and ischemic heart.
Within mhealth services, diagnostic, monitoring and treatment services collectively hold about 74 per cent of the market. The rapid growth of the mhealth services market is attributed to rising government initiatives and increasing mhealth awareness programmes in underdeveloped regions.
Blood glucose meters are projected to be the fastest growing segment in the global mhealth devices market registering a CAGR of 41 per cent during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific is projected to be the fastest growing mhealth market registering a CAGR of 35.9 per cent during 2015 to 2020. The United Kingdom, France and Germany collectively accounted for a 45 per cent share in the European mhealth device market in 2014. Cardiovascular and diabetes mhealth applications remain the most lucrative market segment for manufacturers.
Geographically, North America and Europe constitute the two largest markets for mhealth and collectively accounted for 67 per cent of the market revenue in 2014. They are expected to continue their hold on the global market throughout the forecast period.
Early adoption of innovative technology, large patient population and high capacity to pay for services are some of the key factors responsible for the growth of the mhealth market in these regions.
However, the market outlook across developing economies is looking favourable and strong owing to the increasing awareness of chronic diseases, favourable government regulations and increased healthcare expenditure.
Philips Healthcare, Bayer Healthcare and Sanofi are some of the key companies enjoying a strong foothold in the global mhealth market, especially in Asian countries. Other key players are Omron HealthCare, LifeWatch, Cardionet, Masimo, Boston Scientific, AT&T and Johnson & Johnson.