Mobile Health (mHealth), as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a component of eHealth. To date, no standardized definition of mHealth has been established. The Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe) defined mHealth or mobile health as medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient
monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other wireless devices. mHealth involves the use and capitalization on a mobile phone’s core utility of voice and short messaging
service (SMS) as well as more complex functionalities and applications including general packet radioservice (GPRS), mobile telecommunications , global
positioning system (GPS), and Bluetooth technology.
Increasingly popular in people’s tastes, mHealth apps in the healthcare app market have been growing at the same rate as technology has advanced: since 2015, the use of these apps has increased by 25 percent, according to a recent survey by Kantar. Not only through smartphones, but also through wearable technologies: so-called wearable gadgets, which have grown 12.3 percent in US consumption – today 21 percent of adults in the United States report having an mHealth to monitor their health. There are many modalities on the market, ranging from devices that help control glucose, blood pressure and Body Mass Index (BMI), to those that track running performance, calorie consumption, daily water intake, exercise routines, diet, menstrual period, among many others.
The healthcare app market study conducted by Kantar throughout 2018 and through 2019 showed that nearly half of consumers surveyed said they had a positive opinion about the technologies used for health. However, almost 60% are not yet familiar with some of the most common devices. “Healthcare is clearly evolving towards greater consumer focus and these devices will be at the center and center of this movement,” says Lynnette Cooke, Global CEO of Kantar Health.
The percent of mHealth apps in the healthcare market is developing rapidly: Almost 100,000 mHealth applications have been added since last year, with a total of 259,000 mHealth applications currently available in major application stores (including multiplatform applications and smaller platforms). In addition, 13,000 new publishers entered the market since early 2015, totaling 58,000 publishers.
Demand growth has slowed: the growth rates of downloads from mHealth app stores are estimated at only + 7% in 2016 after a 35% increase over the previous year, reaching a total of 3.2B in 2016
The publication of multi-platform apps, that is, availability on iOS and Android has become normal. 75% of current mHealth products are developed for both platforms. Other platforms still do not play an important role. Unlike previous years, publishers now use APIs to connect their applications to third-party applications, sensors or data aggregators. Apple HealthKit is by far the most used API. 58% of publishers currently use APIs, compared with 42% the previous year.
mHealth application publishers are gaining more development experience: Developing an application involves using tools to develop, test, market and monitor performance. 72% of mHealth app publishers have used, for example, analysis, testing, storage or cross-platform tools. Companies in this field are becoming smaller and losing their altruistic motivation. More and more low-cost applications appear than free.
It is not yet a business that generates profits, with few exceptions. It seems to be the threshold to which a patient is willing to pay out-of-pocket for mHealth application services is $ 10 maximum. Health insurance companies are expected to become a key player in the healthcare app market, but currently, they are not for the job.
The mHealth application market is a developing market. The integration of mHealth apps into the healthcare system will evolve slowly over the next five years: mHealth professionals anticipate that application stores will be the main distribution channel for mHealth applications in the coming years. The follow-up monitoring of a disease will be the main development of mHealth applications for patients: In general, the applications with the most future impact will be those that make it possible to gather information, receive diagnosis and treatment, as well as those dedicated to prevention. The greatest impact is considered to be in relation to follow-up counseling and coaching after the initial visit to the doctor.
Regarding the health benefits of the mhealth apps, the reduction in hospital readmission rates and non-adherence to treatment costs remained one of the most relevant issues attributed to the use of mobile applications in health.