The worldwide market for mobile remote health monitoring applications should reach $1.9 billion USD by 2014, according to [pdf] Juniper Research.
Reducing Healthcare Costs Using Mobile Health
For most hospitals and health establishments, the 2009 IT budget was smaller than the 2008 IT budget. Yet unhealthy lifestyles and aging populations are pushing the disease burden higher.
Juniper Research data indicates that mobile health applications hold great potential to increase the productivity of the global health sector while creating direct (reduced staffing needs) and indirect (easier spread of health information and education) cost savings.
Using SMS text messaging to provide education and appointment reminders is the easiest to develop mobile health application with the highest cost savings potential. Mobile health smartphone apps are also easy to develop, but offer low cost savings potential. Mobile remote patient diagnosis offers one of the highest cost savings potentials but is also the most difficult mobile health application to develop.
Juniper Research estimates there are currently about 5,000 mobile health applications available, most notably through app stores operated by Apple and RIM.
Remote Health Monitoring Offers High Financial Return
Juniper Research finds that mobile applications for the remote monitoring of patient health offer a particularly high potential financial return. In 2009, this market produced global revenues of about $380 million, with North American remote heart monitoring applications accounting for the bulk of revenues.
This market is expected to slowly but steadily rise through 2010 and 2011, reaching about $500 million USD by 2011. After that point, revenues should quickly accelerate to the level of almost $2 billion USD in 2014. North America will still account for the bulk of revenue, but Western Europe, the Far East and China, and the Indian Subcontinent will all show notable growth from near-non-existent levels in 2009. Growth will remain minimal in Africa and the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the rest of Asia/Pacific, and South America.
Americans Smoke Less, Gain Weight
In the US healthcare market, high levels of excess weight and obesity among adults are a key factor pushing up healthcare costs, according to the Harris Poll. Using the widely accepted Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement, in 2010, 64% of US adults had a BMI score of 25 or more, indicating they are overweight. Another 29% of US adults had a BMI of 30 or more, indicating obesity. This means a combined 93% of the US adult population has a body weight above healthy limits. Despite substantial reductions in smoking among adults, weight still poses a key cost concern that mobile health applications could help alleviate.