As Preventive Medicine Attract Attention in Aging Society, Market of Personal Healthcare Services Shows Expansion
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the domestic personal healthcare service market and found out the trend by service category, the trends of market players, and the future outlook.
The personal healthcare service market in this research refers to the markets of the following three categories: Health information management services, Smartphone applications for medical care and disease preventions, and Emerging healthcare.
Against the backdrop of widely accepted free-of-charge services as well as various services increasingly offered by private insurance companies and municipalities, health information management services have become selected by consumers, especially those charged services of health information management for individuals that are high-value added in that they are specialized and conform to individual demands. Some businesses are trying to increase paid users by focusing on a certain users and by modifying the fee system. Because of these factors, the market of health information management services is likely to continue the slight uptrend.
Smartphone applications for medical care and disease preventions are expected as the third method for medical treatment of diseases, especially the treatment of lifestyle diseases and nicotine dependence that have been difficult for medicines and medical instruments to show the effects. Although the chief market players of the apps for medical care and disease preventions used to be the venture companies, market entry by major pharmaceutical companies as well as insurance companies has been in progress. The apps for medical care and disease preventions are used not only by individual users to manage their own health and prevent diseases, but have also started being adopted by increasing number of companies from the standpoint of “Enhancing Health and Productivity Management*” and also by health insurance societies and municipalities aiming at reducing medical cost. There are some attempts for those apps to be covered by insurance.
Hypoxic exercise, which is included in the category of emerging healthcare, has traditionally been implemented by athletes regardless of professional or amateur, but has begun used by general people in recent years as some fitness gyms introducing the exercise on a trial basis or as hypoxic specialty gyms having established. The business of mindfulness practices, provided through the guidance and lectures by instructors, can be categorized into the following three types: The programs for individuals (B2B), for enterprises (B2B2C), and for corporate trainings (B2B2C). The primary programs are for individuals, offered at mindfulness-specialty studios or at rental studios including public spaces for providing mindfulness practices. The programs for enterprises can be classified into those aiming mainly at reducing stresses, and those at human educations including developing leaderships. In recent years, “SIY (Search Inside Yourself)” developed by Google to enhance well-being, leadership, resilience and collaboration, has attracted attention in the aspect of HR development.
*Enhancing Health and Productivity Management is an approach that considers health management of employees from a corporate management perspective and promotes it strategically.
Noteworthy Trends of Apps for Medical Care and Disease Preventions
Among those companies that have started providing apps for treating lifestyle diseases or for mental healthcare, there are some that develop a platform that integrates vital data as well as those data recorded by patients via the app, in order to offer to medical institutions. Online medical treatment has drawn attention ever since the spread of COVID-19 infections and such a platform for medical institutions can be an auxiliary system for online medical treatment (or for subsequent treatment via telephone.)
<Lifestyle Diseases Treatment Apps>
Market formation is in progress because many patients suffer from lifestyle diseases and the apps are relatively easy to make the most of their characteristics for encouraging people to change their lifestyles. The market is brisk as new entry by pharmaceutical companies, etc. is observed.
<Mental Health Apps>
The contents of the apps vary such as understanding of mental statuses, learning of cognitive behavior therapy, etc. In this stressful society, it is possible for B2B2C services (for enterprises or for health insurance societies) using these apps to increase.
<Dementia Prevention Apps>
Though the market for dementia prevention apps has not yet fully monetized (has a profit-making structure,) the cases to provide dementia prevention apps have been increasing by life insurance companies as an additional service of dementia insurance. In addition, against the backdrop of the Framework for Promoting Dementia Care (MHLW) and the Basic Law for Dementia, it is possible for the dementia prevention apps for municipalities to spread.
With preventive medicine attracting more attention in this ever-aging society, personal healthcare services are projected to expand furthermore.
For health information management services, a tendency of those providers offering their services to enterprises and municipalities by utilizing their experiences and knowhow of the services for individuals continues. In the COVID-19 calamity, with the concerns over health significantly increasing, easy availability of PHR (Personal Health Record) apps is continuingly demanded even after the calamity. The government seems to provide PHR services via “Mynaportal,” the government-led online services, by which promotion of health and preventions of diseases, etc. are expected. The rules for PHR are projected to be created based on interoperability of information on use of existing PHR by private businesses, appropriate management of private information, revitalization of wide ranges of private PHR services, and other considerations.
Major market players of the apps for medical care and disease preventions used to at first be the ventures, but market entry by major pharmaceutical companies as well as insurance companies has been in progress one after another. Major pharmaceuticals have entered the market or are preparing for it by collaborating with the ventures or by introducing overseas apps for medical care and disease preventions to Japan. An attempt for monetization (a profit-making structure) of B2B2C (for enterprises or health insurance societies) by accepting insurance has been in consideration. Life insurance companies have started developing apps for policyholders in cooperation with the ventures. There are some services that refund the fees by meeting the criteria of health data recorded by the apps.
Gyms or facilities that provide hypoxic exercises, included in the category of emerging healthcare, have been in the predicament just like other fitness facilities, as they are asked to close or to shorten the business hours in the COVID-19 calamity. Such a difficulty of maintaining the existing members or of acquiring new members is likely to continue for several months even after the state of emergency announcement is lifted. However, before the pandemic, hypoxic exercises used to draw attention of many fitness gyms as well as of some medical and rehabilitation facilities because of the effects of the exercises can be earned in a short period of time. Therefore, the businesses are likely to vigorously promote the exercises as soon as the pandemic subdues. As for mindfulness, in order to acquire the potential demand, the businesses are required to improve the awareness and to overcome the challenges of educating and increasing the trainers and instructors.
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