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Supply Of mHealth Apps Far Exceeds Demand

Posted on October 19, 2016 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

With demand relatively high and barriers to entry low, the supply of mHealth apps available on the two main marketplaces has exploded in recent years. And according to a new report from analyst firm Research 2 Guidance, the number of apps continues to mushroom despite lagging demand.

The report notes that nearly 100,000 mHealth apps have been added to the Google and Apple app marketplaces since the beginning of last year, bringing the total apps available to about 259,000. Also, 13,000 mHealth publishers entered the market since the start of 2015, bringing the total to 58,000, according to the study, which looked at global health app development.

To get a sense of trends, the group’s mHealth App Developer Economics 2016 report compared the number of available apps and publishers with the number of mHealth downloads.

During the past year, researchers found, the total number of mHealth apps climbed a whopping 57%, boosted by the expanding number of health app publishers, the increased importance of publishing across both key app marketplaces in the increase in app portfolios by publishers, R2G found.

Multi-platform publishing seems to be particularly important. Currently, 75% of mHealth publishers are developing apps on both iOS and Android platforms. (An even higher percentage of HTML 5 and Windows Phone developers publish across each other’s platforms, but their numbers are small so they don’t contribute much to the overall market stats, the firm found.)

Meanwhile, the number of health app publishers on major app stores climbed 28% since the beginning of 2015, a torrent of entries that doesn’t seem to be slowing down, the analyst firm concluded. This includes not only veteran publishers but also ongoing entrances by new mHealth publishers.

The problem is, demand is nowhere near keeping up with supply, at least when measuring by the number of downloads. Statistics by the research firm indicate that while demand continued to grow by a solid 35% in 2015, health app downloads are estimated to be only 7% in 2016.

Though such downloads are expected to reach a total of 3.2 billion in 2016, further massive growth seems unlikely, as the growth in use of capable devices that can use and download apps has slowed down in most Western countries, R2G notes.

Given the amount of noise in the mHealth app market, few publishers are likely to have the resources to stand out and grab significant download market share. As the analyst firm notes, only 14% of mHealth app publishers generated more than 100,000 downloads across their portfolio in one year, a number which is climbed only 3% since 2014.

Wireless Health Data Collection Innovations Getting Hot

Posted on September 25, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

This week, psfk.com and pharma partner Boehringer Mannheim published a list of the week’s top innovations in healthcare. All were interesting, but I was particularly intrigued by a couple which continue to stretch the boundaries of wireless medicine.

One innovation example comes from a German research team, which has developed a tiny chip (a two-millimeter device much shorter than an eyelash) which can sample blood sugar levels by testing tears or sweat. The chip is equipped to transmit the results wirelessly to providers, as well as sending patients alerts to their wireless phone.  Even cooler, the chip can be powered wirelessly through radio frequency, keeping it charged for weeks or even months.

Another entirely cool innovation comes from U.S. high school student Catherine Wong, who has invented an ECG made of off the shelf electronic components which can broadcast results wirelessly.  The device, which could make ECGs available to to the two billion-plus people without access to healthcare, picks up heart signals, then transmits them via cellphone to a healthcare provider.  The cellphone connects to the ECG using Bluetooth, and heart rhythms display on  a smartphone screen thanks to a Java app.

As readers know, the idea of broadcasting test results to remote providers via wireless devices is not a new one. The idea is so hot, in fact, that the FCC is holding a public meeting on September 24 to discuss how to accelerate the adoption of such approaches. (The event will be live streamed at http://www.itif.org/events/recommendations-mhealth-task-force at 2PM Eastern Standard Time.)

After watching projects like these germinate for a number of years, I’m thrilled to see more innovation arising in this sector of the mHealth space. Inventors, keep it coming!

2012 EHR and Health IT Noise

Posted on January 6, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I have to admit, I’ve really enjoyed going through and making lists looking back on EMR and Health IT in 2011 and thinking about what is going to happen in EMR and Health IT in 2012. Thanks for everyone who has joined and added to the discussion. It’s been really great!

This next list might actually be the hardest one for me to create. I call it the 2012 EHR and Health IT Noise. You know what I’m talking about. The topics that are going to get talked to death, tweeted everywhere, but won’t really have any major impact on healthcare (at least in 2012). Some would call these distractions.

HIE – Yes, we’re going to hear more and more about HIE’s and their potential. 2012 will still enjoy all that federal grant money that was given to HIE’s. What will we see from it? Maybe a couple books describing lessons learned from all the money spent on trying to set up an HIE. If one or two HIE’s are successful and start sharing patient data with doctors I’ll be really impressed.

EHR Usability – In 2012 I predict we’re going to hear story after story about the lack of usability with EHR software. The complaints will start to pile up, but I don’t think any of that noise will do much to shift the usability of EHR software. It’s a really hard task to dramatically shift the usability of EHR software after the fact. I can’t see many of the legacy EHR accomplishing that shift.

Some new EMR startups may start to come into their own in 2012 with usable EHR software, but they likely won’t be heard above the noise of the other legacy EHR software that’s practically unusable. We’re in a selling spree cycle for EHR software, maybe 2013 will change that.

Mobile Health Apps – This is a little different noise than the others above. This will be noise because there will be so many mobile health apps out there in 2012 and none of them will really consolidate market share yet. I believe that a number of mobile health apps will start to differentiate themselves in 2012, but most people won’t know the difference. They’ll just hear all the noise and try and ignore it.

Meaningful Use – Oh wait, I already wrote about that one here. If you haven’t read the comments of that post, you should. Some good discussion.

Any other things you think will make noise in EMR and Health IT in 2012? I’d love to hear your additions.