Health apps already a bigger market than remote monitoring

By Chris Gullo
Share
iTriage, a popular medical app

iTriage, a popular medical app

According to a recent report from Frost & Sullivan, in 2015 the market for mobile health applications will be about $100 million bigger than the market for remote patient monitoring. Frost estimates that mobile health apps will reach $392 million in 2015, while remote patient monitoring will hit $294.9 million. Frost estimates that mobile health apps earned revenues in 2010 of $230 million, a higher than expected total. Remote patient monitoring generated $126.8 million in revenues.

Despite this positive industry growth, the firm's report predicts significant challenges ahead for those working on health apps, including regulatory issues, privacy and security concerns, and consumer awareness.

Frost & Sullivan's remote monitoring report finds that the emergence of consumer-focused monitoring products, compared to traditional telemedicine, to be a major factor in the industry's growth. According to the report, remote monitoring has had a double digit growth rate over the past decade, but hasn't yet reached its "billion dollar potential". Current business models have "limited potential" in the upcoming market, Frost states.

Other analyst firms have recently published similar findings that line up with Frost & Sullivan's predictions. A report by ABI Research released last November predicted that the market for health and fitness apps will cross $400 million in 2016. ABI believes the rise of apps for connected wearable fitness devices will be a primary factor in the industry’s growth (it predicted 80 million such sensors by 2016). ABI also predicted that there will be more than 1 billion annual health-related app downloads by the year 2016.

recent report from Berg Insight found that approximately 2.2 million patients globally used a home-based remote monitoring device as of the end of 2011. However, the metric only accounts for devices that use fixed wireless, cellular, and fixed line connections; devices that connected via smartphones or PCs were not included in the statistic. In addition, the number of home health monitoring devices in use with embedded cellular connectivity increased from 420,000 in 2010 to about 570,000 in 2011, and is expected to hit 2.47 million in 2016.

"Today, we are seeing the tip of the iceberg in the U.S. mHealth market’s potential,” stated Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Zachary Bujnoch in a press release. “Despite the hype, mobile apps are the single-biggest digital channel since the ‘90s and the Web."

”Over buildup and misrepresentation have made [the remote monitoring market] confusing and complicated,” added Bujnoch. “However, significant revenue and outcomes remain for those who can sift through fact and fiction."

Read the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE -- The mobile health, or mHealth, app market is playing an integral part in transforming the progressing health care IT environment. mHealth continues to see substantial growth, and is expected to continue expansion as business models and significant value offerings continue to evolve in tandem with the fast paced world of mobile technologies. However, as seen in 2011 with the release of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mHealth guidelines, there are various restrictions and obstacles to hassle-free market entry.

In addition, remote monitoring remains a cornerstone for the telehealth industry. While the market contains its’ fair share of challenges, the opportunity for growth in the market has never been greater. It is poised to have a continuing transformative effect on healthcare.

Mobile Health Apps

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s (http://www.healthcareIT.frost.com) Analysis of the U.S. Broadband mHealth Applications Market research finds that the mHealth market earned revenues of $230 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach $392 million in 2015.

“From 2008 to 2010 mHealth consistently outpaced forecast growth and revenue,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Zachary Bujnoch. “mHealth apps will continue on a steep growth curve as increasingly sophisticated mobile technologies and relationship-management tools disrupt the market.”

Near-term market growth will occur as more new users purchase mobile apps and current users continue to purchase and use more mHealth apps. Based on this, it follows that app purchase revenue will grow.

”Today, we are seeing the tip of the iceberg in the U.S. mHealth market’s potential,” said Bujnoch. “Despite the hype, mobile apps are the single-biggest digital channel since the ‘90s and the Web.”

However, taking advantage of the enormous opportunism presented by mHealth is no easy task. The market is besieged by many significant challenges such as those concerning regulatory issues or consumer engagement.

“Consumer awareness is mixed, with privacy and security concerns ever present in the mHealth market,” said Bujnoch. “Also, while still overall a good thing, increases in FDA regulation and oversight may dampen innovation.”

Remote Health Monitoring

Following this theme, Frost & Sullivan's Home Healthcare and Disease Management for Remove Patient Monitoring research finds that the home healthcare and disease management for the remote monitoring market earned revenues of $126.8 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach $294.9 million in 2015.

“Looking at the recent past, the typical overhype present in this market has begun to recede with small- and large-scale success stories,” said Bujnoch. “We have also seen success through simple and smart ideas.”

In the past, revenues were almost entirely derived from traditional telemedicine systems, but future growth in this market will be driven by consumer-focused products as well.

“The proximity of this market to the patient/consumer makes it a bridge between consumer friendly products, such as smart phones or tablets, and healthcare services,” said Bujnoch. “Also, over the past five years and going forward, this market has begun to form two tiers: traditional ‘telemedicine’ and more consumer-focused monitoring services.”

Growth in the market has retained a double digit growth rate for the last 10 years, but the market has never reached its’ billion dollar potential. Various factors obstruct growth, such as the difficulty with scalability. The bottom line is that many current business models only have limited potential in the current market environment.

”Over buildup and misrepresentation have made this market confusing and complicated,” said Bujnoch. “However, significant revenue and outcomes remain for those who can sift through fact and fiction.”

If you are interested in more information on this research, please send an email to Britni Myers, Corporate Communications, at britni.myers@frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company email address, company Web site, city, state and country.