The surging need for the smartphones account for 140 million smartphone users in the U.S. only. The number is expected to increase to more than 200 million, in the next five years. So, far the mobile healthcare (mHealth) marketplace has lived up to its hype, but where exactly is the trend going will depend on the changing healthcare needs.
The number of mhealth apps that are published on the iOS and Android has doubled more than twice, in two-and-half year’s time and it reached a figure of 100,000 apps by 2014. The revenue from the mHealth apps, which was $ 2.4 billion dollars in 2013 actually grew to $ 26 billion by 2017.
However, all the mHealth apps are not successful. Only few of them are blockbusters. According to research2guidance, 68 percent of mHealth app publishers make less than $10,000 in revenue, and only the top 5 percent make more than $1 million. Eighty-two percent of app publishers generated less than 50,000 downloads with their mHealth portfolios in 2013, while the top 5 percent reached more than 500,000.
Nowadays, it's not that difficult to develop an application on a smartphone that can serve the purpose of Healthcare industry. The most important question that arises is - Are there any highly useful and highly user-centric technology that can entice more and more users? The market has reached there – through Wearable Technology. The investors are always looking out for those unique technology and factors that differentiates and have a solid business model. In simple words, more than a single stakeholder need to be willing to pay for the app.
The mHealth apps simply connect and share data. A good example of an mHealth app is that of My Fitness Pal which gets connected to exercise tracker app My Run Keeper, and can add to My Run Keeper’s calorie calculation, based on the number of calories burnt for a specific day.
Another app is called Endomondo, which tracks fitness goals and offers motivation to patients for exercising. The app is capable of tracking speed, calories burned and heart rate for a variety of activities. The driving force is that it shows off accomplishments to the friends, as it is shared on Facebook.
The trend shows that the fitness based apps are about to decline in terms of business potential. Remote monitoring and consultation are some of the key focus areas for the mHealth apps. The real growth will happen for those apps which will be tracking for patients with diseases like diabetes or asthma. This is what gives them an edge over the fitness apps. Also those applications will grow that lowers the ultimate healthcare costs. Healthcare is a traditional industry and always looks out for solutions that are beneficial for them, which brings down the cost of their own care.
However, the year 2014 is considered to go down as the year of wearable technology. But, with the year 2015, the impact of wearables on Healthcare industry has started becoming brighter. Till date, Wearable technology has already shown its marks in education, commerce, communication, navigation, and entertainment verticals; but now, industry experts are predicting that the greatest potential lies in healthcare. Moreover, the wearable technology has already started to revolutionize healthcare by supporting patients and doctors in their critical activities like providing real-time access to their electronic health records.
But, the full potential of wearable technology has proved its presence in healthcare industry. And, its limitations have gone beyond assisting doctors and patients. Apple and Google’s new launched trendy wearables is enticing many users and making new records in the history of Wearables. In 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony, LG and Garmin introduced devices that track everything from heart rate and blood pressure to a patient's O2 saturation. By 2018, the overall number of wearable devices shipped to consumers is expected to reach 130 million. With such a huge appreciation and acceptance from the users, wearables are emerging as the perfect technology for healthcare industry.
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