mHealth: The Numbers Are Off

The numbers are off. The Washington Post recently covered the proliferation of mobile health apps. Pew Internet data shows that 88% of Americans have a cell phone (half of those are smartphones), but only 10 percent have downloaded health-related apps on those devices, a figure that’s remained stable since 2010.

Meanwhile MobiHealthNews says the number of consumer health apps in the Apple Store has exploded from 2,993 in February 2010 to 13,619 in April 2012. Check out this infographic on mhealth.

Seems the idea of "if you build it, they will come" is not working here! Something important is missing. What are some of the important considerations in getting people to interact with health applications? What does the experience offer the patient? How does the experience shape the engagement?

Bryce Willians, director of health and wellness at Blue Shield of California, shared tips on how to get people to use wellness applications — and keep using them — at America’s Health Insurance Plans’ 2012 Institute earlier this year. FierceHealthcare laid out his 10 steps:

  1. Don’t be academic
  2. Make it fun
  3. Don’t build walled gardens
  4. Use trusted recruiters
  5. Encourage healthy competition
  6. Create a clear objective
  7. Don’t rely on financial and other extrinsic incentives
  8. Change it up
  9. Learn from the winners
  10. Measure it

We designed the Patient Guidance System for superior e-patient engagement. Information is simple, actionable, and delivered in "just in time" bites instead of all at once. Reminders and motivators are used often. Patients can include their caregivers in on the online experience. See the app designed by e-patients for patients.

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