A global survey by research2guidance amongst leading mHealth developers and healthcare companies shows that mHealth apps will predominantly be distributed through traditional healthcare channels by 2015.
In the years to come mHealth applications will cease to be distributed primarily through the app stores survey participants anticipate. At the moment app stores are still the distribution channels of choice but in the future it is expected that traditional healthcare distribution channels like hospitals and specialized healthcare product vendors will become the predominant distribution channels. This would represent a significant shift when compared to the market today, as the smartphone app store model has been the key driver behind the initial success of mHealth applications over the last two years.
More than half of all respondents (53%) believe that currently app stores are the best distribution channels followed only by healthcare websites (49%). Traditional health distribution channels like doctors (34%), hospitals (31%) and pharmacies (16%) are ranked as second and third tier distribution channels today. Despite the fact that mobile operators are regarded as players who will help the mHealth market to grow, they are not seen as appropriate distribution channels either now or in the future.
In 5 years’ time survey participants anticipate that the traditional distribution channels like hospitals (68%), doctors (65%) and traditional healthcare websites (56%) will become the main platforms on which to sell mHealth solutions. Generally speaking all distribution channels will grow in importance, but developers envision that in just 5 years’ time the major distribution channel will be doctors prescribing or suggesting applications to patients as a component of treatment.
The survey was conducted by to identify emerging trends demonstrated by common thinking amongst early adopters in this new market. For more see “Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015“