The turn of the millennium marked a significant change in the digital health care world. The arrival of the term eHealth was only an external sign of the arriving changes. (1)
00s - eHealth, Digital Health and mHealth
At a conference in Sydney in 1999 John Mitchell gave the following definition of the term eHealth:
Cost-effectiveness of telemedicine and telehealth improves considerably when they are part of an integrated use of telecommunications and information technology in the health sector. … a new term needed to describe the combined use of electronic communication and information technology in the health sector... the use in the health sector of digital data - transmitted, stored and retrieved electronically - for clinical, educational and administrative purposes, both at the local site and at distance» (2).
Many initiatives such as those of the European Union (eHealth en) (3), the Swiss Confederation (ehealth suisse) (4) or the WHO (eHealth) (5) were launched at the beginning of this millennium. The focus was mostly on IT- applications (information technology applications) that enable electronic interaction in the healthcare system. (6) (7)
With increasing digitalization and the establishment of smartphones, apps, mobile medical devices and wearables in everyday life, the application possibilities exploded. As a result, two more terms were defined, mHealth and Digital Health.
The "equation" from ehealthsuisse.ch gets it to the point: eHealth + mobile = mHealth. But although IBM brought the first so-called smartphone onto the market in the early nineties, it took another fourteen years before the big breakthrough came with the first iPhone and especially with the Apple App Store in 2007. The first Android smartphone followed in 2008. (8) Today more than three hundred thousand health apps are available worldwide.
In the recent past and in particular as a result of the astonishing development of the mHealth sector, Digital Health has established itself as a new generic term. This development was also recognized by the EU initiative with the new title "eHealth: Digital health and care". Also the WHO adopted this term acknowledging it with the new title "eHealth - Global strategy on digital health". However, as eHealth and Digital Health are still interchangeably used this often contributes to confusion.
With its projects Resunda24 (respiration) and Carunda24 (blood pressure), UNDA24 is clearly positioned in the mHealth sector, as the focus is on the development of highly specialized devices that can be used continuously in everyday life and have a mobile connection. With an open interface to database platforms the connection to the eHealth world is guaranteed.
Global mHealth, eHealth and Digital Health Perspectives
Digital solutions have become indispensable in today's global healthcare market. Remarkable developments have been in particular taken place in the mHealth mobile area. One of the early pioneers of those developments was the "Quantified Self" movement (QS), which was founded in 2007 (around the introduction of smartphones) by two “Wired”-journalists Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly (9). Among others, this movement helped to establish that patients became the focus of the health care system. This trend was made possible due to the increasing digitalization of healthcare systems around the world. (10) Today, health, fitness or wellness apps enable the tracking of various aspects of health and have long since the start of the movement left their niche existence. Currently already a next step "The future of digital health systems 2.0: secure and inclusive digital health services for all" is being discussed within the WHO. (11)
This dynamic, especially in the mobile digital health sector, is underpinned by optimistic sales forecasts from various leading market research institutes. On the basis of data and forecasts from six market and statistics institutes, UNDA24 has calculated four scenarios with different average annual growth rates (CAGR) starting from 2020. The values for 2016-2019 correspond to the averaged values of those institutes.