Mobile health — the use of wireless devices to manage health conditions, collect health data, monitor vital signs, provide clinical decision support and access health information — is in its relatively early stages. Nonetheless, the field has witnessed accelerating growth since 2010 in the U.S. It has become a truly global marketplace, with innovation and activity taking off from Africa to Latin America in the past few years. Meanwhile, aging populations and health systems straining under rapid growth rates during a period of economic decline have helped boost interest in mobile health as a way to cut costs and improve continuity of care.
But the market for mobile health is not only focused on the sick, who at any given time constitute roughly 5 percent of the U.S. population; it also includes the health and wellness areas. Here we’ve seen products emerge such as Nike+ and Jawbone’s UP (the latter is set to launch in late 2011). McKinsey & Company has estimated that the current market size for mobile health in the U.S. is approximately $20 billion, while the global market — based on surveys in Brazil, Germany, South Africa, India and China — reaches nearly $50 billion. In the wearable wireless device category, the market is expected to reach over 100 million units annually by 2016.