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November 12, 2010

Smart Health Apps Will Reach 500 Million Users by 2015


A Nov. 2010 research report predicts that mobile and wireless healthcare services will expand dramatically during the next several years to reach 500 million mobile users, reaching more than 30 percent of an estimated 1.4 billion smartphone subscribers worldwide by 2015.

The research2guidance group reports that there are already over 17,000 mobile health applications designed for smartphones available across all app stores. As noted by other studies, many of these apps are aimed at (and being adopted by) healthcare professionals.

According to the research2guidance data, 43 percent of current healthcare apps are designed for care providers including Continuing Medical Education, medical reference content, remote monitoring and healthcare management apps. This broad professional adoption may account for the finding that 74 percent of currently available health apps are based on a premium, or pay to download business model, compared to only 26 percent that are available for free.

Ralf-Gordon Jahns, Head of Research at research2guidance, points out “Our findings indicate that the long-expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen. Both healthcare providers and consumers are embracing smartphones as a means to improving healthcare.”

The report also predicts that as use of current mobile health apps become the norm among consumers and care providers, mobile and wireless health business models will broaden to include healthcare services delivery, use of wireless sensors for personal and home health monitoring and an increase in the potential for significant advertising and drug sales revenues.   It estimates that the largest share of revenues (46 percent) will be generated by mHealth related services, with another 30 percent coming from device sales, 8 percent from mobile-health related transactions, and just 14 percent from downloads of the apps themselves.

“With the growing sophistication level of mHealth applications, only 14 percent of the total market revenue in the next 5 years will come from application download revenue” explains Egle Mikalajunaite Senior Research Analyst. “76 percent of total mHealth application market revenue will come from related services and products such as sensors”.

The “Global Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015” by research2guidance is a business guide for traditional healthcare companies as well as for mobile operators wishing to successfully engage into the new mHealth market.  More information about this report is available from the publisher’s website.


Dr. Cronin is a Professor of Management in the Information Systems Department at Boston College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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