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Sharp rise in mobile health app numbers

US app stores show more than 318,500 now available

Mobile health apps and pharma

Mobile health app numbers almost doubled in the two years from 2015 to exceed 318,500, with more than 200 new apps launched every day, according to a new report.

The work, by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, also found a significant increase in the proportion of mobile health apps that focus on health conditions and patient care, as opposed to those for general wellness.

Though still in the minority, health condition management apps now account for 40% of all health-related apps, up from 27% in 2015.

The study, The Growing Value of Digital Health: Evidence and Impact on Human Health and the Healthcare System, was based on the 22,357 unique healthcare apps available in the US Apple iTunes and Android app stores.

Released late last year, the work suggests the use of health apps in diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation could produce significant cost savings.

Those five areas could see combined annual cost savings for health systems of $7bn, IQVIA said, thanks to their “proven reductions in acute care utilisation”.

Murray Aitken, the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science's executive director, said: “The research suggests an inflection point is occurring within digital health trends regarding innovation, evidence and adoption.

“The convergence of those three digital drivers combined with other macro factors, aligns with the development of the newly defined, and emerging discipline of human data science that combines advances in information, transformative technology and analytics with human data beyond the patient journey to measure and improve health decisions and outcomes.”

The report also highlighted the difficulty in standing out in such a crowded market - some 85% of all health apps have fewer than 5,000 downloads, a sharp rise from IQVIA's 2015 study, when 40% failed to hit that threshold.

Nevertheless, some clear leaders have emerged, with 41 apps registering at least 10 million downloads – or nearly half of all mobile health app downloads.

4th January 2018

From: Healthcare

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