KEY TAKEAWAY: With the number of mHealth apps exceeding 165,000 (IMS) there would seem to be a lot of opportunities, but the majority of available health apps continues to be concentrated in the areas in the areas of wellness, diet and exercise and just 36 apps account for nearly half of all downloads, while 40% of apps have fewer than 5,000 downloads.
The hype around mHealth is in overdrive, but the reality of how patients are using mHealth clearly shows that PR is being used to raise cash effectively. Here are some of the realities of mHealth:
1ne: mHealth apps recommended by physicians are used longer by patients, but doctors are seldom contacted about mHealth app usage and the effect on patient outcomes.
2wo: While 46% of patients would like to consult with their doctor online physicians feel that it could lead to problems diagnosing patients. However, some patients feel that going to the doctor for “minor” issues or Rx renewals can and should be done online.
3hree: Pharma should be developing mHealth apps that show clear clinical benefits, patient outcomes, in their patients. Independent mHealth startups don’t have the expertise to both reach physicians and test apps in a way that is positive to HCP’s.
4our: It’s estimated that 95% of all mHealth startups will fail within five years.
5ive: mHealth can provide insurers, patients and HCP’s with a wealth of information on patient behavior. This data should in turn be used to optimize mHealth initiatives. However, that is going to cost time and money and developers are going to have to connect a straight line to ROI.
6ix: Most pharma organizations are not set up to develop, test and market mHealth apps.
If pharma waits too long they are going to be playing catch up while smaller, more nimble companies market and launch apps. Apps are about patient outcomes and improving communication with a patient HCP and pharma should be doing what it can to innovate in this area.