The false promise of health apps

Do consumers and patients really want to use health apps ?  According to a report released from Pew Internet the top health apps downloaded by users are for exercise (38%), diet (31%) and weight management (12%).   Only 2% of survey respondents say they use apps for medication management In addition. according to a study, at month “0″ after download, 100% of people who have downloaded an app are using it, 3 months after download, 24% of them continue using the application. After 6 months, this percentage drops to 14%, and by 12 months, only 4% are left.  

Let’s be really honest about something: those who are promoting mobile apps for pharma are usually the ones who stand to benefit from a shift in marketing dollars.  There are a lot of agencies all of a sudden that want to convince pharma companies that they need mobile apps but the usage stats don’t warrant such an investment.

I’m not saying that there isn’t a market for apps what I am saying is that patients and consumers really need and want is one app for ALL their health needs (hear that insurers ?).

An all in one health app that can both track a patients health needs and provide information based on the patients medical history could work better than an app for high blood pressure, an app for high cholesterol and an app for staying healthy.

It starts with and revolves around patients.  The model of developing an app without patient input is foolish and a waste of money but if developers are smart they are going to learn all they can from patients and implement what they learn into the app development.

I would suggest that any pharma company that is developing an app think long and hard at where that investment will be in 3-6 months.  Even though a lot of people download apps a lot more could be deleting them because they just don’t meet their needs and wants.


2 thoughts on “The false promise of health apps

  1. In our haste to plug onto the “shiny new toy” and not get left behind, we can sometimes forget that “less is more”. Simplicity is a beautiful thing and Steve Jobs emulated this brilliantly. “Total Solutions” remove the pain of too much choice for the consumer and the time required for people to piece all of these “one offs” into one cohesive package.

  2. I wish that have such a good compliance in Hypertension therapy after 6 months of one visit to a doctor.

    First, most of agencies push companies to have mobile apps without any consumer insights.

    Second, the apps are not taking care of compliance – you have to take care to reengage customer into the user funnel

    Third, creating an cutting edge app is a great opportunity to talk to media and reach the patient with additional rtb.

    Mobile is the future. Think why you are doing it wrong way. Get experts on board.

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