Mobile health applications proved to be essential and promising tools in a fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Assessment apps using advanced artificial intelligence tools, remote patient monitoring and mobile screening applications helped to alleviate the number of patients being admitted to hospitals, limited risks of respiratory transmission of Covid-19 and provided essential care for the patients with chronic diseases.

Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the mHealth app industry, as identified by GlobalData.

China impact

The Chinese healthcare market is potentially worth $1.4 trillion per year, representing a giant market potential for new, innovative therapies. Remote patient monitoring, patient monitoring accessories, electronic medical records, clinical decision support systems, digital pathology systems, and medical imaging information systems are the key markets that will likely be disrupted by mobile health apps in China in the near future.

Although China’s healthcare system has historically experienced high levels of turmoil, it is currently at a turning point. The most recent healthcare guidelines released by the Center of Strategic & International Studies focuses on novel technologies that is thought to promote the Healthtech market through 2020. The lack of stability in healthcare overall has caused some major companies to retreat from mobile health technology, such as tech giant Baidu, which shut down its mobile healthcare unit to focus on AI technology in 2017.

Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent are beginning to break through the barriers of the fragmented Chinese healthcare system with developments in the mHealth space. Tencent recently backed Chinese start-up company WeDoctor, which is developing a mobile app that acts as an “online hospital” and aims to alleviate the burden on over-worked doctors. In May 2019, Alibaba and French personal care company L’Oréal introduced a new AI-based app that diagnoses acne based on selfies provided by users.

Generation hashtag

Generation Hashtag is the instant messaging generation, and is naturally attuned to virtual communication. These digital natives are innately connected and seeking to connect via online environments for work, socialising, finances, entertainment, and, increasingly, healthcare. Generation Hashtag will drive the mHealth sector forward as more and more patients demand mobile connectivity.

Mergers and acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions are a significant part of the medical device industry overall. In an industry that is typically slowed by extended timelines of product development, clinical testing, and federal regulation, M&As allow for growth and innovation to happen at a more rapid pace.

This is an edited extract from the Mobile Health Apps – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.