mHealth applications are proving to be a boon for patients and doctors alike. With smartphones coming to “everyman’s reach”, mHealth apps have seen a spurt in growth.

Research2Guidance, the ever number crunching firm, has released a report  which gives an insight into the mHealth app market.

2011 was the first year of substantial business in the market for mobile health services delivered via smartphone applications.

The smartphone application market for mobile healthcare increased by a factor of 7 to reach $US 718 million in 2011. Nevertheless, the mHealth market is still in an embryonic state. Theoretically the market potential is enormous given the overall worldwide healthcare market size of US$ 6 trillion (WHO estimate) and the potential use cases and benefits for mobile patient healthcare support.

Within the last year, the growth in the mobile healthcare market has greatly accelerated. The main drivers for this growth have been the increase in the smartphone user base on the demand side, and the doubling of the number of mHealth applications on the supply side. These findings are part of research2guidance’s new Mobile Health Market Report 2011-2016.

A majority of the big healthcare companies have discovered mHealth applications as an innovative way to promote and deliver healthcare services and products. A testament to this is that a number of these large players published mHealth apps in 2011 that go far beyond a simple allergy tracker or pill reminder, e.g. Sanofi Aventis’ sensor-based iBGStar Diabetis monitoring app.

chart mHealth 1.2012 mHealth applications market reached $US 718 million in 2011

We are undoubtedly witnessing a transition phase, and mHealth apps will surely become a “must have” for doctors and patients alike.

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