There’s no question that mobile tech has the potential to make a big impact on healthcare delivery. There are more than 43,000 “health-related” apps in the Apple iTunes Store, however, a 2013 study on mobile apps in healthcare conducted by The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that just 16,275 of these are directly related to “patient health and treatment.”
While this may seem like an impressive number of apps in the mobile health space, the IMS study found that just five of these apps account for more than 15% of the market share. Conversely, roughly 50% of these apps have been downloaded fewer than 500 times each.
Why have so few mobile health apps found success in the marketplace? It certainly isn’t lack of resources – ad spending in the mobile health space was up 100% in 2013 compared to 2012, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.
“Mobile health apps have the potential to drive a disruptive shift in patient engagement and healthcare delivery,” says Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. “Harnessing the power of apps has become a focal point of innovation, yet barriers remain to their broad and systematic use by providers and patients.”
Some of these barriers include:
- Concerns about Security
A 2014 mHealth study conducted by Mobiquity found that 61% of adults said that privacy concerns prevented them from adopting mobile health apps.
- Inability to Integrate
Healthcare providers work with dozens of vendors for a wide range of systems – it’s imperative that mobile health apps be highly accessible, and easily integrated with any other systems that may be in use, so that data can be shared across all providers and clinicians who need it.
- Lack of Clinical Evidence
Hospitals are notoriously reluctant to take risks, which is why clinical evidence supporting the viability and efficacy of a given app is paramount – demonstrating evidence of positive clinical outcomes is quite possibly the most effective way to break down barriers to adoption.
According to Aitken, “Development of clear evidence on the benefits of driving positive behavioral changes and improving health outcomes will be key to breaking through the barriers.”
Mobile health app developers must address these fundamental barriers to adoption in order to truly make an impact – both in the marketplace, as well as in the lives of the consumers and providers they serve.
The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics provides key policy setters and decision makers in the global health sector with unique and transformational insights into healthcare dynamics derived from granular analysis of information. It is a research-driven entity with a worldwide reach that collaborates with external healthcare experts from across academia and the public and private sectors to objectively apply IMS Health’s proprietary global information and analytical assets. More information about the IMS Institute can be found at: http://www.theimsinstitute.org
 The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics 2014 mHealth Study Summary
 Becker’s Hospital Review, Five Statistics on mHealth Usage
 Mobiquity, Get Mobile, Get Healthy Infographic
 Becker’s Hospital Review, Three Ways to Use Health IT to Improve Clinical Integration
 The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics 2014 mHealth Study, pg. 55