It’s hard to find a pharma or medical device company these days that doesn’t have at least one mobile app in development. And now that, as of February 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance on which apps need to be regulated and which ones don’t, it will be interesting to see if this almost exponential development trend continues.
Federal guidance alone doesn’t guarantee an app’s success, and there is still plenty of playing field for developers in the health and wellness space for apps that do not require 510(k) submission. Therefore, developers and marketers alike must keep in mind these three key drivers of mobile health app adoption.
In a 2014 poll by QuantiaMD, only 37% of physicians surveyed said that they had recommended a mobile app to their patients. In another QuantiaMD poll, 42% of physicians said they would notrecommend a mobile health app to patients because there was no regulatory oversight (though the new FDA guidance should help with this). In addition, another 37% percent had no idea what mobile health apps are out there.
In spite of physicians being split on the utility of apps, consumers are downloading them at a rapid pace. In fact, it is estimated that within the next three years half of all smartphone and tablet users will have at least one mobile health or wellness app, like Lose It!, RunKeeper, or Glucose Buddy. But, downloading doesn’t necessarily mean they are using them! There is enormous opportunity for healthcare marketers to more effectively demonstrate the myriad of app benefits to patients and physicians alike.