Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 26, 2012

Global mHealth Industry Expected to Hit $23B by 2017

Mobile technology has begun to permeate a number of industries, even those outside the realm of tech. The healthcare industry, for example, has seen mobile adoption rates continue to rise lately simply due to the role mobile technology now plays in everyday life.

This is appropriate since mobile technology is all about accessibility and convenience – two elements many would argue are often absent from healthcare. It would seem that people like this marriage of mobile and health technology, or mHealth, because this industry is expected to be worth over $23 billion worldwide by 2017.

By this time, the United States is expected to account for nearly a quarter of all global mHealth spending at $5.9 billion.

Patients, rather than medical professionals, are to lead the charge in terms of mHealth growth as it provides them with the ability to seek better healthcare information with greater efficiency. The belief is currently that healthcare apps will provide convenience while also improving quality of care.

The primary uses of mHealth include patients using their mobile devices to monitor their own wellness, contact their providers, and access healthcare call centers, advice lines and emergency centers.

Despite the massive growth predicted for mHealth, though, there will still be hurdles to overcome as with any new technology. The most significant hurdle is expected to be a lack of early adopters as the healthcare industry is traditionally resistant to change.

A lot of this has to do with the approach of the technology. For example, ClickMedix and Grameen Health have been pursuing what has been called "disruptive healthcare" technology, which has ruffled a few feathers. However, the ClickMedix concept is fairly straightforward and useful, harnessing the power of smartphones — using their cameras, for example, to take a picture of a rash or lump — to communicate issues to medical professionals.

Even with the wildest marriage of mobile and healthcare technologies, advancement can't be halted — especially since 80 percent of doctors are apparently using smartphones and medical apps today.

Edited by Braden Becker

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