Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Friday, February 24, 2012

mHealth: Remote Patient Monitoring Is On The Rise, With Smartphones Leading The Way

By Rip Empson
Tech Crunch
Originally published February 8, 2012

Last month, we took a look at someof the ways mobile technology is transforming the health industry. While there are many factors affecting this transformation, like artificial intelligence, big data, 3-D printing, social health networks, and remote communications, to name a few (check out Josh’s post on this here), unsurprisingly, change is coming at the hands of the growing ubiquity of cell phones, smartphones, and mobile devices.

Early last year, PEW Researchwas already reporting that 17 percent of mobile phone users were using their devices to look up health and medical information, and Juniperrecently estimated that 44 million health apps were downloaded in 2011.

In turn, the amount and availability of health data is exploding in tandem with the growing adoption of health and medical apps and devices, thanks to the increasingly wearable and user-friendly devices that use smart sensors to capture and transmit a variety biometric data. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are being made available on mobile devices — even KaiserPermanente is getting in on the digital revolution.

The mHealth industry is growing fast. According to Research2guidance‘s calculations, the size of the mHealth app market will nearly double in 2012 to $1.3 billion, up from $718 million in 2011. (I discussed the volatility of these statistics, the still-changing definitions of mHealth and mHealth technology, and conflictingreporting on these numbers here.)

While these numbers can sometimes be misleading, the mHealth sector is not only going to continue to expand, its profitability is going to skyrocket. This is because, in juxtaposition with the $7 trillion global healthcare market, the mHealth market remains incipient. Healthcare companies, startups, and beyond are just beginning to tap into the potential of mobile technology, both in terms of quantified self devices, which bring healthcare in the clinic home, the mobility of data and communication channels. Companies are beginning to spend more and more on research and development, the big kahunas of the medical world are starting to release real, functional mobile apps, and consumer-facing medical devices are just starting to see real market penetration.