POST SUMMARY: In a 2014 poll by QuantiaMD, only 37% of physicians surveyed said that they had recommended a mobile app to their patients. In another QuantiaMD poll, 42% of physicians said they would not recommend a mobile health app to patients because there was no regulatory oversight (though the new FDA guidance should help with this). In addition, another 37% percent had no idea what mobile health apps are out there.Twenty-one percent of doctors in the above second poll said, because of a lack of longitudinal data on effectiveness, they won’t prescribe a mobile health app to patients.
An additional poll of 250 physicians found:
- Forty-two percent won’t prescribe apps because there is no regulatory oversight of them.
- Thirty-seven percent have no idea what apps are out there.
- Twenty-one percent never recommend apps to patients.
- Twenty-one percent won’t prescribe apps because there’s no longitudinal data on apps’ effectiveness.
- Another 21 percent won’t prescribe apps because it would generate an overwhelming amount of patient data.
So should this discourage pharma? No, instead it should be seen as an opportunity. For example, Novartis partnered with INVIVO Communications to develop the Helio app for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) sufferers. Launched in three countries, Helio has a gamification element that rewards COPD patients and therefore helps to drive behavior changes. While it’s too early to measure the app’s long-term benefits, early reports indicate that patients are indeed modifying some of their behaviors.
What has to happen is that mobile apps need to be developed with the same testing as new drugs. The focus should be on helping patients while at the same time getting physicians buy-in that the data is meaningful.
Pharma has an advantage over the tech bubble startups in the Valley and they should leverage insights, and medical knowledge to develop best in class mobile apps while using the sales force to gather consensus with HCP’s.