By 2014, $1.7B market for mobile apps in healthcare enterprise

By Brian Dolan

Chilmark Research: US physician adoption of smartphones and apps

The market opportunity for mobile apps in the healthcare enterprise is currently $100 million, according to a recent report from Chilmark Research. Because of the rapid evolution of mobile devices, physician demand, and the healthcare enterprise's need to improve quality and efficiencies, the market will climb to $1.7 billion in three years time, Chilmark Research predicts.

“Currently, 63% of physicians are using an mHealth App in the enterprise,” says Cora Sharma, lead analyst at Chilmark Research. “However, the majority of these are clinical reference Apps with no tie-in to an enterprise’s healthcare information systems (HIS). Physician adoption of mobile devices, including extremely rapid adoption of touchscreen tablets such as Apple’s iPad, will lead to equally rapid adoption and deployment of mHealth App solutions by these enterprises – not just to help them comply with meaningful use or to satisfy physician demands, but also in an effort to improve operational efficiencies and quality of care delivered.”

Chilmark believes that tablets' larger screen size will move mHealth apps away from the restricted smartphone platform, which it believes has a "restricted" feature sets. Tablets will enable clinicians to make use of "mHealth Apps with improved bidirectional data flow through a touch interface," the research firm stated in its release.

"One area that will reach saturation in the very near future is medical content," Chilmark Principal John Moore writes on his firm's blog. "Companies such as Epocrates, Medscape and Skyscape have been providing this capability for a number of years to physicians and we peg current adoption and use north of 60 percent. By the end of 2013, this market will reach saturation. This may partially explain Epocrates’ acquisition move yesterday, picking up Modality for $13.8M. Modality will provide Epocrates with critical relationships to many health content publishers and further solidify and strengthen its position in this market. But of Modality’s some 140 iOS-based Apps, only half are heath and life sciences related. Might Modality provide Epocrates the opportunity to expand into new markets now that the health content market is reaching saturation?"

The new Chilmark Research report is the result of roughly three months of dedicated research by the firm's lead analyst Cora Sharma who interviewed numerous leading adopters of mHealth Apps (Beth Israel Deaconess, Children’s Hospital Boston, UPMC and others) as well as both traditional HIT vendors, best-of-breed mHealth vendors and consultants.

The core focus of Chilmark's latest report is on enterprise mHealth Apps that link into a healthcare enterprise’s HIS including EHR, CPOE, eRx, CDS and Charge Capture. Chilmark predicts that these types of apps will be "competitive differentiators" for healthcare enterprises who seek to not only meet meaningful use requirements and structure themselves for payment reform, but also to improve internal workflow for higher efficiency.

For more, read Chilmark Research's press release
Also, check out the report's information page in Chimark's Research Store