- A new report from research firm Parks Associates reveals bullish numbers for the mobile health market in 2015. Parks reported that patients contacting a physician remotely by video will triple from 5.7 million in 2014 to more than 16 million next year.
- According to Parks, nearly half of homes with broadband in the United States used online services for their healthcare in 2014. The most common use was online prescription refills. Nearly 30% of households used at least one connected health device.
- The firm also predicts that use of connected digital trackers will grow dramatically. The firm expects the number sold will hit 22 million, up from 6.6 million in 2012 and 13.6 million in 2013. Connected devices are expected to account for half of all digital fitness tracker sales this year.
Wearable devices offer a potential market for device manufacturers and for enhanced patient engagement. But, like anything in healthcare, they only work as long as patients find them valuable. To increase patient usage, wearable devices will need to offer unique features and designs to keep patients engaged, be simple to use and include a variety of health tracking options including fitness management and coaching.
Still, while market growth is expected, consumer adoption of the devices is still slow. According to a recent study, less than 50% of those with a biosensing wearable were still using it after 24 months, citing problems with reliability, convenience and functionality. The entry into the market of consumer tech giant Apple with its HealthKit platform and the soon-to-be-released iWatch will certainly give patient adoption of wearables a boost, but there's still some heavy lifting to be done before physicians and patients alike are able to both successfully integrate wearables into their daily routines—not to mention learn how to use the data in a way that improves outcomes in a meaningful way.
Want to read more? You may enjoy this story about why Apple, Epic and IBM are unlikely to dominate mHealth anytime soon.