Mobile technology is destined to play a significant role in the global healthcare market, and GSMA, a body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has the numbers to back up that claim. Revenue in the mHealth space could reach the tidy little sum of US$23 billion by 2017, according to a report authored by PwC for GSMA. In addition to forecasting its potential growth in dollar terms, “Touching Lives through mHealth: Assessment of the Global Market Opportunity” also explains in some detail how mobile technology can help healthcare payers and providers overcome some of today’s most critical challenges.
One of the truly unique ways in which mHealth will transform healthcare delivery is the adaptive solutions it provides to developed and emerging economies alike. Developed countries need to reduce the cost of universal healthcare, notes GSMA’s Jeanine Vos, Executive Director, mHealth, in a press release announcing the publication of the report. In the developing world, accessibility to medical care is the overarching need. Mobile health applications have the potential to help solve both of those problems.
The study breaks down the approximate revenue potential that mHealth providers can expect to achieve by 2017, as follows:
- US$11.5 billion for mobile operators,
- US$6.6 billion for device vendors,
- US$2.6 billion for content and application providers, and
- US$2.4 billion for healthcare providers.
Under the GSMA scenario, Europe would become the largest mHealth region by 2017 with revenues of US$6.9 billion followed by Asia Pacific (US$6.8 billion), North America (US$6.5 billion), Latin America (US$1.6 billion) and Africa (US$1.2 billion). The United States could benefit from revenues of US$5.9 billion, accounting for a quarter of the global mHealth market by 2017, and revenues in China and Japan could reach US$2.5 billion and US$1.4 billion, respectively.
The largest market segment for mHealth will be monitoring services for chronic disease management and related conditions. That will account for 65% of the market by 2017, according to the PwC study. Remote diagnosis will be the second largest segment followed by treatment services, such as Vitality Glow Caps that remind users to take medication via SMS and phone calls.Norbert Sparrow