Lux Research predicts clinical mobile health devices will surge past consumer devices after 2018, emerging as the dominant force in the global mHealth market.

Clinical mHealth got off to a slow start because of regulatory approval barriers and slow intergration into physicians’ workflows. Other obstacles such as data security, cost and lack of interoperability remain, but option of vital signs monitoring and in vitro diagnostic devices toward the end of the decade will fuel the surge.

Consequently, Lux Research forecasts the global mHealth market will grow eight-fold from $5.1 billion in 2013 to $41.8 billion in 2023. “Consumer devices have seen a lot of hype but clinical devices will surpass their consumer counterparts in revenues by 2020, helped by value-added software services and generally larger revenue streams,” said Nick Kurkjy, Lux Research associate and lead author of the report. “Clinical markets will be able to pay much more for comparable services, especially if a device is able to reduce patient recovery times or readmission rates, which can lead to outsized cost savings for the healthcare provider.”

The research firm predicts that the vital signs and in vitro diagnostic devices sectors will make up about 75 percent of the mHealth device market by 2023, with the two accounting for $32.9 billion by that year. Clinical vital signs monitoring devices alone will grow from $372 million in 2013 to $16 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent compared to consumer applications, which will grow from $2.5 billion to $7 billion--an 11 percent CAGR.

Another recent study by Grand View Research predicted that by the end of the decade the worldwide mobile health market will grow to $49 billion, with projected growth from 2014 to 2020 at a whopping CAGR of 47.6 percent. Driven by chronic disease management, the research firm argued that monitoring services will remain the dominant and fastest growing mobile health market segment, with an estimated CAGR of 49.7 percent from 2014 to 2020.

Two-thirds of 500 physicians recently surveyed by MedData Group use some kind of mobile app in the performance of their jobs and 60 percent are interested in technology that enables mobile EHR access. When physicians were asked which mobile applications they would consider using over the next 12 months, four apps drew the most interest from physicians: mobile EHR access and point-of-care information on drugs, medical devices and diagnoses, patient portals, and secure texting. 

"Doctors are open to adopting a wide variety of mHealth technologies, if they see a clear benefit," said MedData Group. "Notwithstanding their reputation in some quarters as change-resistant tech-phobes, the data indicate that they’re open to new tools that improve their work lives.”

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