In our increasingly technologically connected world, it is no surprise that mobile Health (mHealth) has been growing exponentially. Last year, half of all internet searches for health information occurred via smartphone, a clear signal that medical mobile apps are a must have for industry players and healthcare facilities start-ups that want to reach new customers.

For some of you who are considering to offer a new service to your peers, to patients or other players in the Healthcare system via a mobile app, beware! The market is extremely crowded. Almost 140,000 mHealth apps are available and downloads are slowing. To capture potential customers in this competitive market, here are some key tips from research2guidance’s study on mHealth App Developer Economics. Because do not forget that building an App is the easy part. To make it stand out in the crowd is much harder.


Today, over 100,000 mHealth apps are available on the App Store or on Google Play. iOS and Android platforms dominate 75% of the market, and the trend for most app developers is to go “multi-platform.”

To be competitive, apps must be available to anyone, anywhere.


Like most industries, the app market is most lucrative for those that have the money to cover the development costs:

  • 57% of app publishers are struggling…
  • and only 43% are achieving their goals;
  • 63% of the struggling app publishers are small companies,
  • whereas 64% of the “achieving” ones are large companies.

If as a healthcare professional you are considering or just launched a new mHealth venture, consider partnerships that allow you to leverage your novel ideas with a large company’s resources or alternatively funding by deep pocketed Business Angels or Venture Capitalists.

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The main motivations among publishers for creating an mHealth app? Helping people, generating revenue and gathering data.


Still, these motivations remain less important than targeting the right consumers. Today:

  • greater than 50% of apps target chronically ill people,
  • another 33% target health and fitness fans,
  • and around 30% cater to physicians and hospitals.

Since the market is saturated with apps for patients – or those striving to stay well – the next promising market for apps is likely to be healthcare providers and institutions.


mHealth app publishers believe that, in the next 5 years, there is likely to be tremendous potential in apps for remote monitoring, diagnostics, and medical condition management.

By 2020, expect to see momentum in mHealth apps that target people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and depression, with diabetes having the most market potential.

Diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are closely related conditions and collectively will make up a large share of the mHealth app market. Depression, despite efforts to reduce stigma and the wealth of pharmaceutical development in this area, is still seen as a private struggle, which may explain its quiet potential in the world of mhealth app development.

In summary, key target groups, core disease areas, multi-platform app development, and awareness of the market domination of big developers are key to surviving (and thriving) in the mHealth app world.

What are some of your favorite mobile health apps? Do you use them for education, communication, or patient care? Share your thoughts on the next big thing in mHealth in the comments!

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Photos credits: (Oliur Rahman/Kelly Brito)

Posted by Ranim Chaban

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