Posted on April 24, 2017

Mobile apps have become the mainstay of almost everyone’s daily lives. But as any company that has created an app knows, if it doesn’t bring perceived value, the app will quickly be removed from a device. This places the medical industry in a precarious position of crafting viable apps that offer the kind of ease of use and important information that the average user will want.

While medical mobile apps might have started within areas such as prescription refill or high risk patient data and information, the world of apps has expanded for personal health to almost all lifestyle topics. In an article by HealthDataManagement, they include the following important information:

“Most of the apps currently available in the marketplace are published by Apple and Google, with each of the two main app stores offering almost 70,000 apps within the “Health and Fitness” (56 percent) and “Medical” (44 percent). Of medical apps, 12 percent target chronic diseases. Within that group, apps that claim to help obesity management represent the largest therapy field (29 percent) including the large section of weight loss apps, followed by diabetes (20 percent) and cancer (19 percent).” 

One of the most positive aspects of mobile apps has been the adoption of the consumer of apps for fitness. There is a duel reason for such a high level of reception: inexpensive cost and ease of use. The fitness apps can interface with a number of devices, are easy to use and offer consistent updates on fitness goals and status.

Medical apps are a bit more complicated as well as sophisticated, and due to this factor, those that create apps made the judgement call that their success would be in the hospital/clinic/physician arena. But this projection was incorrect, as the adoption in that field has been lower while the personal use of mobile apps has exploded on the scene.

In our net-based environment, information abounds and most people are aware of the quantity of misinformation. Patients continue to rely on their medical experts for a majority of their health data and those mobile apps that follow some simple guidelines seem to be having the most success. Those apps that have a ‘friendly’ appearance while delivering patient-specific information as well as keeping up with updates that address the trends and changes of the society are the most popular. Apps that are too complicated, don’t sync with other functions and features or that require time and effort to institute are quickly falling to the wayside.

Another problem with mobile apps is that there are now so many that each of the medical institutions or physicians that do finally adopt app use, have fallen prey to the fact that there isn’t any kind of general standards. This leaves the patient/consumer in a position where they have to download individual apps for each medical professional they visit. In a short attention span/immediate gratification society, it appears that the patients are driving the mobile app industry and the jury is still out on which ones will be maintained and which will fail.