Mobile industry association GSMA believes mobile technology will play a significant role in the provision of healthcare services globally and predicts the growth of the mHealth market will lead to a revenue opportunity worth US$23 billion by 2017.
The findings are from a new report, ‘Touching Lives through Mobile Health: Assessment of the Global Market Opportunity’, conducted by PwC for the GSMA, which looks at the key challenges the healthcare industry is facing worldwide and the opportunity mobile technology provides in overcoming these challenges.
The report, released today, Feb. 15, suggests that in spite of the advancements in medical technologies and a general increase in income levels, healthcare continues to pose challenges of affordability, complexity and access across the world.
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In contrast, mobile access is almost ubiquitous. With the increasing penetration of smartphones and new and innovative ‘connected devices’, and the proliferation of Mobile Broadband networks and services worldwide, mobile will play a far greater role in healthcare in both developed and developing countries in the future.
“By 2017, mobile technology will be a key enabler of healthcare delivery reaching every corner of the globe,” said Jeanine Vos, executive director, mHealth at the GSMA.
In terms of the market opportunity, the research found that the provision of pervasive mHealth services and applications worldwide could provide mobile operators with revenues worth approximately US$11.5 billion by 2017. Device vendors could benefit from a revenue opportunity of US$6.6 billion, content and application providers US$2.6 billion, and healthcare providers US$2.4 billion by 2017.
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Europe would become the largest mHealth region by 2017 with revenues of US$6.9 billion. Asia Pacific would be the second-largest region with revenues of US$6.8 billion, North America could account for US$6.5 billion, Latin America US$1.6 billion and Africa US$1.2 billion.
In terms of individual countries, 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 GSMA report suggests that to enable this opportunity, governments, regulators and healthcare providers need to work with mobile operators and organisations in the broader mHealth ecosystem, including device vendors and content and application players, to support the roll-out and adoption of new mHealth services.
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Monitoring services, such as those for chronic disease management, will account for 65 per cent of the market (US$15 billion) by 2017. One example is T-Mobile’s CardioMessenger Service that offers remote cardiac monitoring for patients in Germany.
Diagnosis services will be the second-largest segment, comprising 15 per cent of the global mHealth market (US$3.4 billion). This includes mobile telemedicine and health call centres that allow those in isolated areas to connect with healthcare professionals, such as the Telenor Teledoctor service in Pakistan, which offers 24/7 access to qualified physicians.
Treatment services will be the third-largest revenue opportunity at 10 per cent of the overall market (US$2.3 billion). Current examples include services that ensure patients adhere to treatment schedules, such as Vitality Glow Caps that remind users via SMS and through calls that they should take their medication.
Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA also produces events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.
Photo courtesy: GSMA