mHealth apps are almost solely used at the end users/payers stage by hospitals, medical offices, and patients. Clinical trials are also starting to use mHealth apps to help collect and process patient data. Finally, marketing and sales representatives sometimes use mobile versions of their marketing tools to educate healthcare professionals and patients about specific medications. However, these types of mHealth apps are more educational in nature and are generally not regulated by the FDA.

Listed below are the major milestones in the history of the mHealth theme, as identified by GlobalData.

1973 – The first call on a mobile phone was made by Martin Cooper using the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X.

1989 – The FDA released its first, general policy on regulation of computer- or software-based products.

1994 – The first smartphone – IBM’s Simon – was released to consumers.

2005 – The FDA withdrew its software policy, citing its lack of adequacy in addressing all software-related regulatory issues.

2006 – DexCom launched its first generation continuous glucose monitor.

2007 – Apple revealed the first iPhone.

2007 – Fitbit was founded.

2008 – The Apple iTunes Appstore was launched, giving users the ability to download apps from an online marketplace.

2009 – Research reports showed that the number of physicians using iPhones doubled from 2008-2009.

2009 – Physicians began to use iPhone apps to access AllScripts electronic medical records.

2013 – Analysts estimated that over 97,000 mHealth apps existed.

2014 – Number of mobile devices exceeded the world population.

2015 – Fitness tracking app MyFitnessPal was acquired by Under Armour for $475 m.

2015 – The FDA gave AliveCor clearance for two new algorithms which give automatic ECG feedback to the user.

2017 – Butterfly Network’s mobile ultrasound scanner received FDA clearance.

2018 – Siemens’ mobile CT scanning platform (SOMATOM Go) received 510(k) premarket clearance.

2019 – More than 1.4 billion Apple devices are active globally.

2019 – The FDA is launching its Software Precertification Program in test phase.

2020 – Telemedicine receives boost in development due to COVID-19.

2025 – The Hashtag generation, Generation Z will be the spearhead consumers.

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