The Growth Channel

Your new app: One in 43,000?

by Rachel Reeves

According to IMS Health, half of consumer-oriented Android health care apps have less than 500 downloads. With utilization spread thin across the 43,000+ health care apps on the market, organizations must differentiate each new app with a clear, strong value proposition for providers, patients, and the organization.

To attract potential users and encourage physicians to recommend your app to patients, providers should take the following steps.

1. Design apps meant to be used on a regular basis

Some apps confuse patients about their health needs by providing them with meaningless or misleading data at random intervals. IMS recommends providers and developers evaluate new apps’ potential benefits and limitations in empowering patients and improving health care efficiencies. 

Apps designed to be used regularly, for example, are more likely to offer meaningful data and provide value to consumers, rather than those used on an ad-hoc basis.

2. Connect the app to patients’ treatment plans

Apps can fragment, rather than support, patient care when the guidance they provide does not align with an established treatment plan. 

IMS suggests involving providers in app design, integrating with a patient’s EHR, and including their physician in communication to promote integrated care and clear, consistent messaging.

3. Alleviate concerns by clearly communicating privacy standards

Apps that collect data but fail to clearly explain how that data is stored or used can generate consumer concern and discomfort. 

Include a comprehensive privacy policy for the app and ensure HIPAA compliance if the app requests Protected Health Information. Proactively alleviating privacy concerns using clear, consumer-centric terms, such as “confidential” rather than “encrypted,” will help draw app users.

4. Collect and publicize user-reported outcomes

Quantifiable success data, such as improved user clinical outcomes, can drive utilization by attracting media attention and building physicians’ confidence in the app. For example, the fertility tracking app Glow recently announced that it helped more than 1,000 women conceive.  

More from the Marketing and Planning Leadership Council

Thinking about designing your own mobile app? Check out our new Business Innovation Toolkit, including the New Business Portfolio Manager, to manage the progress of your new venture.