As smartphone ownership and use becomes more widespread, the mHealth market has grown and developed. Using digital forms for consumer communication with healthcare professionals is becoming more common and is often considered a more convenient means of contact. Mobile health services are able to provide programs for chronic conditions, remote monitoring, patient data, electronic records, e-prescriptions, and also include fitness and wellness applications. Using mobile devices to monitor health and data of patients can be especially convenient. Such use would not only help to improve the quality of care and health of patients, but could also save millions of dollars a year in avoidable healthcare costs, for example by simply helping to improve poor medication habits.
There are thousands of healthcare applications available for both consumers and healthcare professionals, as well as applications that have different functionalities. Among the most common health-related apps are apps concerning weather, fitness, lifestyle and stress, and diet and nutrition. Such apps can help people adhere to diets, track fitness goals and give suggestions on nutrition, diet and healthy living. The majority of such apps are free to download, allowing anyone with a mobile device the possibility to use.
The mobile health industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years and is predicted to reach a total market size of some 72 billion dollars by 2020. Uses of mHealth will grow and change as health trends and concerns fluctuate in coming years. For example, as the prevalence of diabetes becomes a greater problem in the United States, the potential to use mHealth apps to help in diabetes care and prevention will be one of the main therapy fields for mHealth app publishers.