Thinking of creating a health app?
Before you get started there are several important factors to consider if you want to compete successfully in this crowded marketplace.
According to research2guidance’s 2016 study, the growth of mobile health (or mHealth) app downloads has slowed, but many new apps are still being produced, so supply is outpacing demand. The study suggests that overall revenues for mHealth services will continue to grow over the next few years which means there is still a great deal of potential for new apps to find a place in the market if they provide users with real value and utility.
What Health App Consumers Want
With so many choices already available, be sure you are investing in an app that will stand out and attract consumers. How do you make your app indispensable? Let’s review some of the things your potential customers want from a health app.
Users like apps that allow them to gather the information they want easily. Sometimes this is as simple as looking up existing information on health-related topics, but many of the most popular mHealth apps are wellness apps that promote a healthy lifestyle. They help the user track information on their diet, exercise, heart rate, sleep, and more. Some even have social media functions built in so users can share certain information with their followers. Some apps monitor general health, while others are designed to track data related to a specific condition such as migraines, fertility, or diabetes. Having this information at their fingertips can help the user feel like they’re taking charge of their health.
Sensors and Wearable Devices
Diet-tracking apps generally require the user to input what they eat and drink manually, but sensors that passively collect other types of data can be even more useful. Wearable items such as patches, smartwatches and fitness tracking bands contain sensors that can detect the user’s activity levels, sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels, and more. The GPS in a mobile device can determine the user’s speed and distance traveled while exercising. It can also use the physical location to find information about current environmental conditions around the user, such as local weather, pollen levels, and other data that may affect health. This information is particularly useful for users tracking allergies.
When developing a wearable device to connect with your mHealth app, remember that it needs to be comfortable, lightweight, and water-resistant so it’s not intrusive to the user.
The information the user inputs, both actively and passively, can be used to produce push notifications with personalized messages. These can include reminders to perform an activity or take medication, updates on progress toward certain goals, or even warnings based on live data.
Uses for Collected Health Data
Users of these apps can choose to share their mHealth data with their doctor. This data can help patients and their doctors notice worsening or even the potential development of medical conditions before the associated symptoms become obvious, and is likely to be more accurate than the user’s self-reported information. This is especially true for data the user cannot collect by him or herself, such as ongoing heart rate and blood pressure levels or sleep cycles. On a larger scale, using such data from a group of individuals participating in clinical studies could ensure more thorough and accurate results, but it’s important that apps comply with regulations regarding patient privacy and the sharing of medical information.
mHealth has immediate potential to improve patient outcomes, as well as prevent and detect medical issues. It could also reduce costs related to hospital readmission or a patient’s failure to adhere to treatment. Young users can become more engaged with monitoring their own health, leading them to develop good habits now that can help them maintain wellness as they age. The future is bright for user-friendly mHealth apps that can positively impact a user’s quality of life.
Is your company planning to build an mHeath app? Contact us so we can help you make it a reality.