The growing number of healthcare professionals utilizing mobile phone medical applications or “apps” in everyday business activities is contributing to rapid growth in this nascent market segment. Although much smaller than other popular mobile app segments, mobile medical apps are slowly gaining market share as revenues are expected to more than double in 2010 over 2009, according to healthcare market research publisher Kalorama Information’s new report, “Worldwide Market for Mobile Medical Apps.”
The market for mobile medical apps was worth about $41 million in 2009, which translates to about 1.5 percent of the total mobile app market, and Kalorama estimates 2010 sales to come in at $84.1 million. Medical apps compete for market share with very large and popular app categories such as gaming, entertainment, social networking, and navigation. Despite the higher price tag for most medical apps (averaging $15 per app), the number of downloads fall short—keeping medical apps on the lower end of revenues in comparison to other categories.
However, the use of smartphones has been rapidly expanding in the healthcare industry, since they provide a range of programs, convenience and efficiency that can’t be achieved with traditional computers and pocket drug references. It was estimated that in 2004, around 25 percent of practicing physicians in the U.S. used a PDA or smartphone. This increased to approximately 35 to 40 percent in 2008. By 2010, more than 50 percent of physicians are using smartphones or PDAs on a regular basis for everyday treatment activity.