Technology is altering the entire world. The situation is no different with the mHealth market. It is constantly growing promising to take healthcare to the next level.
Currently, providers and consumers demonstrate a genuine interest in digital health apps. Every day, many companies and organizations see plenty of opportunities to succeed, thus building an effective medical app. Yet, there some who are still hesitant towards the idea of adjusting technologies to healthcare. Several questions arise when analyzing the market potential. How attractive will the market be? Is it worth investing in? What is the fate of digital health apps?
mHealth market overview
The digital health market has been greatly expanding over the last few years. The number of mHealth apps is still evolving. As reported by IQVIA, there are more than 318 000 healthcare apps available worldwide.
73 % of them support English. Some of the mHealth apps go further and support multiple languages. However, there are 56 % of apps are merely in English.
As mHealth is continuing to strengthen, investors are encouraged to enter the industry. In 2017 eHealth financing scaled the heights with $11.5 billion in funding across almost 800 deals. Thus, the number rose by 37 % compared to 2016.
As predicted, 2018 seems to be surpassing 2017 for amounts of investments in mHealth. In Q1 2018, the amount of funding reached $1.62 billion. Therefore, this exceeds Q1 2016 funding ($1.41 billion), which was considered the largest Q1 yet.
Furthermore, the proliferation of repeat investors is increasing. There have been more returning investors than new ones since 2016.
Customer & physician perspective
According to a consumer study by Accenture, wearables and health apps have increased since 2014. In 2018, 48 % of healthcare consumers were using mHealth apps vs. 16 % in 2014. The interest in virtual care adoption is steadily growing. Still, there are some worries about healthcare technologies:
Despite all the concerns, both consumers and doctors regard mHealth as a handy tool. The reasons why they use digital healthcare apps are the following:
Digital health apps categories
mHealth apps are divided into two groups according to their focus:
- Wellness management apps. They are of assistance when monitoring health. Such apps take the lead in mHealth apps available on the market. The major categories include diet and nutrition, lifestyle and stress, sports and fitness, weight loss, etc.
- Health condition management apps. They provide users with information on diseases and conditions. Such apps are increasing in numbers and take 40 % of all apps.
Disease-specific apps: the most attractive sectors
According to IQVIA, there are top five therapy areas:
- mental health conditions;
- heart and circulatory conditions;
- nervous system disorders;
- musculoskeletal conditions.
Apparently, mental health is the major focus for disease-specific apps.
- ~ 450 million people around the world have mental disorders.
- ⅕ of teenagers are affected by developmental, emotional, or behavioral problems.
- Women are more likely to have a serious mental illness than men.
- The most common mental health disorders include ADHD, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression schizophrenia.
According to the survey, approximately 7% of all apps are focused on mental health issues. Over 600 applications aim at dealing with depression, and 200 are focused on suicide prevention.
The reason why such kinds are rapidly gaining popularity lies in their capacity to transform a consumer’s phone into a tracking and medical platform. They enable data collecting of the symptoms and delivering it to the physicians in real-time.
The use of digital health in diabetes is in great demand as well.
- The total number of adult diabetics reaches 425 million (2017).
- More than 30 million Americans have some form of diabetes.
- Over 86 million Americans live with prediabetes.
- ~ 90-95 % of diabetics are of type 2 (insulin-resistant).
- 23 % predicted growth in type 1 and 49 % in type 2 among the people under 20 (by 2050).
Diabetes apps constitute 16 % of disease-specific apps. They are diverse depending on the performing functions, such as insulin and medication recording, weight management, blood glucose tracking, data sharing, doctor-patient communication, etc.
According to Research2Guidance, diabetes has the best market potential in the future and is followed by obesity and depression:
What can we expect?
“We believe consumer health technologies – apps, wearables, self-diagnosis tools have – the potential to strengthen the patient-physician connection and improve health outcomes.”
Dr. Glen Stream,
Chairman of Family Medicine for America’s Health
With the sustainable development of mHealth, there are countless opportunities for rapid quality improvement in healthcare. There is solid evidence that demonstrates great potential for mHealth apps:
- Consumers and physicians are now more open to the idea of adjusting mHealth to everyday life.
- Emerging technologies enable the creation of efficient mHealth apps.
- Some fields are in great demand (e.g., mental health, diabetes).
- The maturation from a sustained investment sector.