Smartphone applications will enable the mHealth industry to reach 500m Smartphone users by 2015, a new report by research2guidance claims.

The report, ‘Global Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015’says that apps will reach 30% of the estimated 1.4 billion Smartphone subscribers worldwide over the next five years.

There are already more than 17,000 mobile health apps available via the app store and almost half of those (43%) are specifically designed for healthcare professionals. Apps include those specifically designed for remote monitoring and healthcare management applications.

Ralf-Gordon Jahns, head of research at research2guidance, said: “Our findings indicate that the long-expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen. Both healthcare providers and consumers are embracing Smartphone’s as a means to improving healthcare.

The study found that around 26% are free while the remainder are based on a premium, or pay to download, business model, however, it also says that the applications themselves will not be generating the most revenue in the future.

According to research2guidance, the largest share of revenue will come from mobile health related services (46%) and device sales (30%). The download of apps will represent just 14%.

Egle Mikalajunaite senior research analyst added: “With the growing sophistication level of mHealth applications, only 14% of the total market revenue in the next five years will come from application download revenue.

“Seventy-six percent of total mHealth application market revenue will come from related services and products such as sensors”.

The report claims that with more and more traditional healthcare providers joining the mobile applications market, the business models will broaden to include healthcare services, sensor, and advertising and drug sales revenues.