Breaking Down the Mobile Health Apps by Number

Posted on October 31, 2013 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.

Dan Munro has a great blog post on Forbes that offers an overview of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report on the mobile health app market. Check out his whole article for all the findings, but I was really intrigued by his list of study results:
1. Every app categorized as “health and wellness” or “medical” in Apple’s AAPL -0.11% iTunes store was reviewed
2. Of the 43,000+ mobile health apps assessed for the report – only 23,682 were classified with a legitimate health function
3. 5 apps accounted for 15% of all downloads
4. 16,275 were considered patient facing
5. 7,407 were considered provider facing
6. Smartphone use is lowest (18%) in the 65+ demographic
7. More than 90% of the apps tested scored less than 40 on a scale of 100
8. Apps were further categorized by 7 capabilities:
– Inform (10,840 apps)
– Instruct (5,823 apps)
– Record/Capture data (5,095 apps)
– Display User entered data
– Guide
– Remind/Alert (1,357 apps)
– Communicate
– None of the 7 capabilities (1,622 apps)

I always love data and this is some interesting data. Dan’s headline was also another interesting piece of data: “Over 50% Of Mobile Health Apps Are Downloaded Less Than 500 Times.” We’ve talked about this before. It’s one thing to build a mobile health app and another thing to get someone to actually use it. Many fall short of the later objective.

One other stat in the list above that stood out to me was the split between provider facing mobile health apps and patient facing mobile health apps. I would have thought that more of them would be patient facing. That’s a lot of provider focused mobile health apps considering the size of the provider market. Of course, each of those doctors do control a lot of consumer spend.