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Communications in a mobile age

mHealth: when will pharma catch up?

Stuart BanksThink about it: where would we be without those little devices we carry around in our pockets to help organise, inform and support us throughout our daily lives? With 7 billion on the planet, 5 billion of us have a mobile phone, and (in developed countries) many of them are smartphones. And yet, when it comes to communication about our health, which is pivotal for pharma to support patients and physicians, mobile is failing. As the single most important factor in quality of life, the appetite for health content is there, right, so what’s going wrong?  

Some facts for you

In 2016, health app downloads reached 3.2 billion - a huge number by any standard. Yet all the more surprising when you consider pharma-developed apps only accounted for 0.2% of that total. Things go downhill from there: the top five most popular pharma apps account for more than 50% of downloads, meaning the other half simply failed to achieve any relevance with patients. Further stats reinforce this perspective, with 85% of all health app downloads experiencing fewer than 5,000 installs.

So, what’s going wrong?

One issue is trust. According to patient research, there is a fundamental lack of it when it comes to pharma-developed apps. When asked to elaborate, those same patients cited the lack of co-creation between themselves, doctors and carers - all factors contributing to the failure of health apps engaging in any meaningful way.

How do we change and accelerate?

We know from our own Thousand Patient Survey that 90% of patients want a more active role in decisions about their health. And we know that patients who are more actively involved in their own care recover faster and live longer. So, more mHealth seems inevitable, right?

But we need to acknowledge the advice being given: mHealth solutions informed by and co-designed with those that we seek  to influence are more likely to  address the issues, more likely to engage and, ultimately, more likely to be used by the people who need them most.

Stuart Banks is director of Stikke (part of Frontera Group)

in association with

Stikke

7th June 2018

From: Marketing

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