According to a new report from UK-based Juniper Research, the number of downloads for health-related apps in 2012 will total 44 million by the end of next year. The research firm also predicts that the number of health app downloads will jump to 142 million by 2016. Considering the Apple AppStore only launched about three years ago (mid-2008), a prediction for app downloads five years from now is certainly a risky one.
Juniper Research also stated that hardware peripherals that attach to smartphones will "greatly extend the capabilities" of health apps. That much is true. Glooko, Withings, iHealth, and Entra Health all enable users to connect health devices, like weight scales, blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, and more to smartphones. Mobisante recently commercially launched its ultrasound probe peripheral, Mobius, which connects to Windows Mobile devices today and plans to connect to some Android devices in the future. Agamatrix has launched its iPhone glucose meter, the Nugget, through a partnership with Sanofi in Europe (US launch still pending FDA clearance). AliveCor's much anticipated iPhoneECG case plans to launch in 2012 and close to a dozen fitness devices in various stages of commercialization have companion apps for smartphone users.
Juniper's estimate of 142 million health app downloads in 2016 falls a bit short of the 600 million downloads worldwide that a Pyramid Research report from 2010 expected by 2012.
Other details from the Juniper report in the press release below:
Press Release: Mobile Healthcare and Medical App Downloads to Reach 44 Million Next Year, Rising to 142 Million in 2016
Vibrant Health Hardware Peripheral Market on the Horizon
Hampshire, UK - 29 November 2011: The combination of the smartphone and the app stores has created a vibrant market for mHealth apps which are forecast to reach 142 million downloads globally by 2016.
Apps already cover a wide range of mHealth use cases, varying from medical calculators to monitoring software. However, in time, hardware peripherals attached to the smartphone will greatly extend the capabilities of these apps, finds Juniper Research.
Hardware Peripherals designed to work directly with mHealth apps will allow the smartphone to become an important portable accessory to the healthcare establishment for both diagnosis and relaying medical data to healthcare staff, states the report.
Juniper Research notes that the consumer focus of many mHealth apps will result in mHealth becoming increasingly mainstream. According to report author Anthony Cox, "Acceptance of new healthcare practices like remote patient monitoring will come directly from consumers becoming engaged in mHealth through the smartphone."
Other findings from the report include:
· Clarification from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), on which mHealth apps will require FDA approval, is still required but is expected to add further impetus to the market.
· Significant cost-savings can be achieved through remote patient monitoring in developed markets through the avoidance of hospital stays and outpatient appointments.
· The US has a notable lead over other developed economies for remote patient monitoring due to the structure of the healthcare industry and insurance funding.
The report nevertheless acknowledges the need for more trials to prove both the medical benefits and the potential cost savings of advanced mHealth services.
The report includes a comprehensive analysis of the current state of play of the mHealth market and contains five year forecasts covering areas including mHealth smartphone apps, remote patient monitoring for cardiac outpatients and chronic diseases, and enterprise healthcare smartphones.
The mHealth whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full report.
Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.
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