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What You Should Know About The mHealth App Market

Over the years, mobile applications in the healthcare industry have blossomed and are expected to continue to see exponential growth (a report by Lux Re...

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|Jul 11|magazine6 min read

Over the years, mobile applications in the healthcare industry have blossomed and are expected to continue to see exponential growth (a report by Lux Research suggests that by year 2023 the mHealth device market will reach $41.8 billion).

As business entrepreneurs continue to invest in this fruitful business, there are a few things both individuals and mobile app developers should be aware of when it comes to the mHealth app market.

mHealth apps to focus on patient-doctor relationships

As the market for mHealth apps has grown, the concept behind them has evolved. While at first it was believed that applications in the healthcare industry could go no further than tips and remedies for common illnesses, it is now believed that there is much more potential for them.

Developers are now beginning to involve doctors and medical professionals in the process and as a result have noted that mHealth can act as a bridge between patients and physicians. According to David Levy, MD, healthcare is moving towards a “personalized medicine” – an area in which mHealth can certainly flourish.

Benefits for payers are numerous

Dan Brostek, head of Member and Consumer Engagement at Aetna, noted in PwC’s “Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth” study that benefits range from administrative savings to improving outcomes through access to personalized information. Making customers aware of costs of treatments was another benefit mentioned.

According to the study, payers are likely to shift to the patient position because they will bear most of the economic consequences if healthcare systems fail to reform. Disruption is in their interest, states PwC, and many are aiming to redefine their roles within healthcare.

Providers have launched independent mHealth services

While many payers have launched their own mobile health apps, others have bought those already established. Aetna acquired iTriage back in 2011, an application that allows customers to research medical symptoms, locate healthcare providers closest to them and schedule an appointment. The app has earned approximately five million downloads to date.  

Providing patients with mobile capabilities they want, and need, insurers can differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace.

App features to be enhanced

Applications within the mHealth sector need to be approved by the FDA and comply with law and other councils. Therefore, developments for apps require integration with various other components to update content from doctors and medical organizations. Those associated with the development for apps must focus on the requirement of the application in the primary version and upgrade the app once the direction of the utility is clear.