Mobile industry analysts Research2Guidance have come out with a new report on health apps, predicting that in 2017, worldwide mobile health market revenue will total $26 billion.
The report categorizes the mobile health market as growing in three phases: an initial trial phase, a commercialization phase, and an integration phase. We are currently in the second phase, the report said, which is "characterized by a massive increase of offered solutions, the creation of new business models and the concentration on private, health-interested people, patients and corporations as major target groups."
The barrier that has to be crossed to enter into the integration phase, the report says, is a lack of mobile health regulation. That third phase, according to Research2Guidance, will involve apps as an integrated part of doctors' treatment plans, paid for by health insurance companies.
Currently, the firm said, there are about 97,000 mobile health apps in 62 app stores. The top 10 apps generate up to 4 million free and 300,000 paid downloads each day, according to the report. About 15 percent of all mobile health apps are dedicated apps for medical providers as supposed to consumers.
Getting back to the predictions for 2017, the company projects that more than 3.4 billion people will have smartphones or tablets with access to mobile health apps, and 50 percent of them will have downloaded health apps. The bulk of the $26 billion in revenue won't be from paid downloads (which will make up 9 percent), but from mobile health hardware and services (84 percent). This is consistent with Research2Guidance's predictions in their previous mobile health report last year.
"This growth projection is based on the assumption that private buyers will continue to be the primary spenders in the next five years," the report says, "but that the integration of mHealth applications into traditional health care systems will become more and more common (integrated phase) during that time."