Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
An increasing variety of mobile health apps are now available to European patients in their local languages, according to a new first-of-its-kind directory that showcases 200 health-oriented apps.
PatientView's European Directory of Health Apps 2012-2013, which is launched today, contains mobile apps across 62 health specialities and features apps in 32 different European languages.
The Directory is certainly the most extensive survey I've seen on health-related mobile apps, but it really stands out for its systematic collection of app reviews from patient groups and 'empowered consumers'.
Introducing the Directory Robert Madelin, director general of the European Commission's DG Connect, notes that this is just the approach his communications, content and technology directorate encourages.
“From DG Connect's perspective, consumers and patients need guidance and support in finding useful and reliable apps. Some means are needed to help orientating in the complex world of health apps,” he writes.
“Scrutiny of these apps by informed users (such as empowered citizens and patients groups) could be one way forward.”
Each app featured in the Directory has a one-page entry that shows its cost and developer, where it's available and patient group recommendations.
The Directory represents a wide variety of European languages. English, German, French, Italian and Spanish are, of course, included, but so are Catalan, Estonian and Latvian.
It has the most app entries in its communication disabilities and diet sections, but there are a number of other well-stocked categories of apps, including its sections for diabetes, cancer, medication reminders, and asthma and allergy.
Among the Directory's many entries are apps for patients to report adverse events (the Fodspor – Footprints – app from Danish patient group Dansk Selskab for Patientsikkerhed); track up to date medication information (the HIV iChart app from the UK's University of Liverpool); and medication adherence (RxmindMe Prescription from a US-based app developer).
But notable for their absence, at least to a pharma audience, should be many of the smartphone apps produced by the pharmaceutical industry over the last three years.
PatientView, which specialises in mapping patient groups and their activities, worked with industry partners GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi on the Directory.
It also partnered with NHS social network How Are You?, which recently launched the UK's first dedicated health app store.
The few pharma apps featured include Sanofi's iBGStar Diabetes Manager App and GlaxoSmithKline's MyAsthma app. But it also has entries for Janssen's Psoriasis app and Bayer's Factor Track app and PatientView promises to shortly open up the Directory to submissions for further health apps.
Overall the Directory is a huge piece of work on the mobile app landscape and its findings present a clear sign that the mobile health space is maturing and expanding beyond developers' initial US-centric approach.
• PatientView's European Directory of Health Apps 2012-2013 is available for free download