Health IT

Profile of a successful mhealth app: Made for iOS, connects to other APIs, sells as a service

mhealth app

There are more than 100,000 mobile health apps, by one research firm’s count, but the great majority of them get downloaded fewer than 50,000 times and don’t bring in more than $10,000 in revenue.

Mobile research firm research2guidance surveyed more than 2,000 mobile health app developers around the world and examined the differences between those who had made significant revenue from their apps and those who hadn’t. Aside from obvious things like being featured in the App Store or being the subject of visible ad campaigns, there were a few common traits among the successful ones.

Consider “successful” to mean those publishers whose portfolio of apps had more than 500,000 downloads and brought in at least $1 million in revenue.

  1. Their revenue model is service-based, rather than based on paid downloads. More than a third of so-called successful apps, ranging from image sharing to sophisticated remote monitoring, get their revenue primarily from service sales, research2guidance said.

  2. They integrate with other databases or health tracking devices. Open APIs allow apps to access more data that can enrich their value.

  3. They have a large portfolio. More than one-third of the “successful” developers had published more than 20 mobile health apps, the firm said.

  4. IOS is their No. 1 platform. A whopping three-fourths of successful developers had a preference for iOS over Android.mhealth app platform

  5. They’re experienced. More than half of the successes had been in the mhealth business for at least four years.

  6. They use more app development tools. That includes ad networks, analytics, social networks and storage tools.

More than one-quarter of the apps on the market target fitness-oriented people, the report says, and nearly a third are for chronically ill patients. With time, research2guidance’s analysts expect that fitness apps will dwindle in importance, with remote monitoring and consultation apps surpassing them.

mhealth app outlook

It’s 43 pages, but the full report is worth a look for those in the business of mobile health. It’s the firm’s fourth annual study on the state and future of mobile healthcare in collaboration with Continua Alliance and HIMSS.

[Charts from research2guidance]

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