Although the category is enjoyed by millions, more than half of its apps are barely noticed.
A new report has now been released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics that has revealed that as much as mhealth apps are very popular and the categories at app stores are rapidly growing, more than 50 percent of those available are downloaded only 500 times or fewer.
There were a number of different types of insight that were revealed by this research.
Within this research, all of the apps from the iTunes store within the “medical” and “health and wellness” categories were reviewed as mhealth. This provided over 43,000 applications that had to be assessed for the report. Among those, only 23,682 were deemed to have an actual specific and legitimate health function.
Five mhealth applications accounted for 15 percent of all of the downloads within that category.
Within the group of relevant mhealth apps, 16,275 were patient facing applications and 7,407 were provider facing. Among the various age demographics, the lowest group of users was those over the age of 65 years. Over 90 percent of the applications that were tested received a score of under 40 on a scale of a possible 100. The application categories were further narrowed by 7 different potential capabilities. These included:
• Information (10,840 apps)
• Instruction (5,823 applications)
• Recording and capturing data (5,095 apps)
• Displaying user-entered information
• Providing guidance
• Reminders and alerts (1,357 apps)
• None of these listed capabilities (1,622 applications)
The mhealth app report was a sizeable one, filling 50 pages with data, results, and discussion. It is among the more recent and comprehensive that has taken an in depth look at this particular environment. The apps received their scores based on 25 different criteria.
The mhealth application scoring system was applied for all healthare apps that were geared toward consumers with at least one of the functionalities among the seven listed above. Based on its findings, the report went on to recommend various areas that needed to be addressed in order to ensure that these apps “move from novelty to mainstream.”