Improvements in mobile technology are leading to a makeover in how healthcare so far has been perceived and, particularly, accessed.
The proliferation of technology has helped, over time, increase our trust in it as a platform while simultaneously, practitioners in a number of fields have been playing off technology's increasing rate of penetration as a means to connect people and offer services they might not otherwise have access to. Nowhere is this more evident than in mobile health or "mHealth", a burgeoning area of the healthcare system that provides pathways between health practitioners and patients that may not have previously existed (or may have been too far away/costly to make use of). Having a mobile phone handy means people in remote or poorer areas can seek medical advice with a prompt response. With an rising number of health-related mobile applications becoming available on the android and iOS platforms, tech's contribution to healthcare has been significant and is growing manifold.
Recently, Research and Markets, a leading source for international market research and market data, announced that they will start offering a report titled “mHealth Apps & Solutions Market – Forecast to 2018″ to analyse trends and developments in the area and, above all, signifying the considerable weight that mHealth now pulls.
According to an article on Cause Artist, connected devices dominate the current market making up around 80 percent of the total revenue contribution to the mHealth apps market. "The most commonly used device and app are cardiac monitoring and exercise app, respectively. Cardiac monitoring and fitness tracking are the most prominent uses of mobile-enabled connected devices owing to the increasing awareness of the need for healthy lifestyles."
mHealth applications generally fall under one of two categories: health and medical apps. In terms of usage, health holds the major percentage, providing options realting to weight loss, exercise, sleep to calorie counting and reminders to take your medicine.
An analysis of the market dynamics that was carried out by Research and Markets indicates "...that the major drivers of mobile healthcare can be directly linked to the increasing awareness of chronic diseases, growing adoption of smartphones, high penetration of 3G and 4G network, advanced mobile connectivity and a promise of better healthcare cost-efficiency. Low patient-doctor ratio in underdeveloped countries such as Africa and other potential mHealth platforms such as smart TV increase the scope of mHealth penetration globally."
the World Health Organisation believes that technology integration within the health sector has the great potential to promote better health communication to achieve healthy lifestyles, improve decision-making by health professionals (and patients) and enhance healthcare quality by improving access to medical and health information and facilitating instantaneous communication in places where this was not previously possible.