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The mHealth industry is exploding at the moment. Within two years, the total mobile health market will reach $26B in revenue according to Research and Markets. Additionally, telemedicine, wearables and sensors, Apple HealthKit and Google Fit together with big data health predictions have all been hot topics of debate during our trends workshops this year.
To give you a comprehensive overview of what's going on in this space we present our Top 9 Mobile Health Trends 2015.
Please let us know what you think in the comments below.
It is undeniable that mobile health is among the hottest tech trends
for 2015 listed by Gartner, PWC, Forbes and of course DMI/Golden
Gekko. We highlighted it in our Top Mobile Trends for 2015 and it’s
been a hot topic of debate for all our trends workshops over the
past month. We are talking about how mobile is transforming the
We’ve not taken insurance, healthcare commercials and regulatory
challenges for individual markets into account as this report is
intended to provide trends and insights. The report also doesn’t
include our normal “What does it mean for you” as the implications
vary too much between the different players in the healthcare sector.
“By 2017 the total
mHealth market will
reach $26B in revenue”
Research and Markets
Don’t want to visit the doctor to check out your swollen ankle? You
don’t have to. Telemedicine is allowing people to communicate with
nurses, doctors and specialists from home or the office and mobile
devices are enabling this revolution. Established players in the US
include HealthTap, American Well, Doctor On Demand and Teladoc.
Together with start-ups such as Bestdoctor, MDLIVE, ZocDoc,
SoloHealth and others in this space they will truly begin to disrupt
the healthcare sector. Stats indicate that 52% of patients would be
comfortable undergoing a video consultation with their physician.
“Telemedicine is ‘the biggest
trend in digital health in 2015’”
Skip Fleshman, Partner at Asset Management Ventures
2. Mobilization of Processes and Documents
In the above mentioned study, 69% of respondents also noted
that they used apps to access clinical information. However, only
33% reportedly believe they can access most or all of the clinical
systems technologies they need via smartphones/tablet computers.
Hospitals, care homes and health institutions are leveraging mobile
to change and improve the way they work ranging from schedule
management, time reporting and communication between care
takers to submission of forms, safety, ordering of medicine,
accessing patient records and logging of patient data. This is by no
means a fast process due to HIPPA compliance and other regulatory
requirements but it’s happening. One example is LifeLink which
provides a personal cloud based solution to patient records.
Clinicians access information
needed to provide information care
via Desktop (89%), Laptops (78%),
Smartphones (55%) and Tablets (51%)
HIMSS 2014 Mobile Device Study
3. Wearables and Sensors
When wearables are discussed most people refer to smart
watches, fitness trackers and Google Glass. This is not where
the big innovation is and in fact doctors tell us that they are not
even interested in the data provided by fitness trackers and smart
watches. Not everyone wants to admit that or the current issue
with wearables that half of the people that buy them stop using the
device within 3 months. Instead it will be specialised wearables and
sensors that are the big break-through. Here are a few examples:
Electrozyme is developing a printed, flexible strip sensor that
measures electrolyte balance, hydration, muscle exertion and
SniffPhone is a device connected to your phone that will be able
3. Wearables and Sensors (continued)
to diagnose diseases with a whiff of your breath. More info here.
Augmedix is a start-up that originally based their product on Google
Glass which automatically populates a patient’s electronic health
records based on conversations during appointments with physicians.
Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. has come up with a way to eliminate the
pain when taking blood glucose readings, thanks to its FreeStyle
Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System.
Utilisation is endless. There are sensors that measure hydration and
tell people to drink more water, when and how to take headache
pills, measuring and analysing hormone levels and many, many more
values. This Pinterest page shows all the latest mHealth devices.
“Sensors will be everywhere -
on your wrist, on your phone,
in your medication, [...] it will
accelerate generating a mountain
of new data to sift through”
Bill Russell, CIO St. Joseph Health
4. DIY and Prescription-Only Apps
Twenty percent of respondents to an HRI consumer survey said FDA
approval was very important in their decisions to use a mobile app.
WellDoc’s BlueStar is a “Mobile Prescription Therapy” that allows
people to input data about their glucose levels, diet, exercise and
more. Another app that has recently been approved by the FDA allows
radiologists to view images on their smartphone. It is important to
determine whether your product is a medical device or app. If your
product is a medical device you need to go through the 510 clearances.
We expect to see more of these as health care apps truly have an
impact on our health. HealthTap ranked the top apps in 2014 which
were mostly food and exercise related.
“86% of clinicians believe that
apps will become important
for health management over
the next 5 years”
PWC Top Health Industry Trends 2015
5. Apple HealthKit and Google Fit in Hospitals
So far HealthKit is in the pilot / prototype stage but every
pharmaceutical and major health institution that we’ve spoken to
want to test HealthKit and equivalent services from other mobile
platform providers. Hospitals and medical centres hope that these
services will help with monitoring patients with long-term health
issues such as diabetes or hypertension. The objective is to provide
timely information to allow for intervention before the patient needs
to be readmitted to hospital. At the moment Apple HealthKit appears
to be most widely used, perhaps for the simple reason that the
majority of developers are working with it. However, many medical
centres are also piloting Google Fit as well as Samsung’s offering.
“14 of the top 23
hospitals are either
already testing HealthKit
or are in talks to do so”
Reuters Research, February 2015
6. Big Data Health Predictions
Can Technology fix Medicine? Can Big Data be used to improve
health and treatments, predict diseases, treat complex health
issues as stress, migraines, sleeping disorder and help change
behaviour? With Big Data we will not only be able to analyse
results but recommend the right measures, communication and
treatments in real time. Not only will this be applicable to healthcare
providers to improve patient care, but in principle, Big Data can
provide health and genome intelligence on entire populations. In
the face of local viruses or pandemics, the data could be analysed
to point towards the most effective course of action. However,
this highlights how crucial privacy and security will become when
information this sensitive is gathered on a large scale.
“95% of e-patients do not care if their
PHI is shared and two-thirds to three-
fourths of those patients expect to be
discriminated in housing, insurance
and employment based on that data”
HealthIT & mHealth, 2015
7. Consumer Engagement and Communication
According to the mHealth Summit, ‘Consumer Engagement’ is the
new buzzword. Extending the relationship between the provider and
the consumer who at times is a patient. We can envision a dialogue
to be opened up across digital channels that will enhance this
For example, as part of a Clinton Health Access Initiative in Malawi,
there is an HIV test for newborns that is not a traditional POC test,
but results are delivered via text message. This reduces the six-to-
eight-week waiting time by half.
“We’re long past trying to
influence consumer behavior -
we need to leverage it”
Janet Schijns, VP Global Verticals & Channel Marketing
at Verizon Enterprise Solutions
8. Venture Capital Investors Pouring Money into Healthcare
According to TechCrunch, the venture capitalists invested 250%
more money into health insurance in 2014 than they did the year
prior. In April 2015 Oscar was one of the first mHealth startups to
reach unicorn ($1 Bn dollar valuation).
Other possible mHealth cadidates for IPOs in 2015 are Practice
Fusion, Doximity, Healthgrades, Evolent Health, Best Doctors,
ZocDoc, and AirStrip
9. The Race to Take Care of the Elderly
Baby boomers are getting older and there are not enough geriatric
physicians or even primary care physicians to care appropriately for
this ageing group.
Almost all wearables and new technology for the elderly are GPS
or location based, with the purpose of finding lost nursing home
residents or informing family members that an accident has
occurred. GeriJoy is one of the few technologies that is focused
on improving the quality of life for the elderly.
Fighting for a world
full of mobile solutions