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mHealth Economics 2017: 325,000 mobile health apps available in 2017

Over 2,400 mHealth app developers and healthcare professionals shared market and business insights, and contributed to Research2Guidance's annual report.

mHealth Economics 2017: 325,000 mobile health apps available in 2017

Research2Guidance released its latest mHealth Economics report, which has found that the number of apps for healthcare has continued to grow, reaching 325,000 titles in 2017. For the first time there are more mobile health apps available on Android than on iOS.

Since last year, 78,000 new health apps have been added to major app stores. The supply side of the market for mHealth apps shows robust growth of 25 percent year-on-year but even though the growth rate of number of apps is still high, overall they are slowing down — in comparison, last year the growth rate of new mHealth app additions to the major app stores was 57 percent.

Google Play Store is now home to 158,000 health apps – a 50 percent increase compared to last year and the highest growth 2017 rate of all major app stores. In contrast, iOS has recorded a growth rate of 20 percent. Other app stores — Windows Phone, Amazon App store, Blackberry world — hardly contribute to the number of health apps on app stores.

Digital health has developed into a sound business, attracting players from various industries outside of healthcare. Whilst 60 percent of stakeholders in digital healthcare are from the health industry, 40 percent are not from the health industry. These stakeholders are mostly IT / tech companies, and consulting companies or agencies.

Twenty-eight percent of digital health practitioners have less than 2 years of industry experience; on the other hand, 10 percent of mHealth app publishers have 7 or more years of experience in the digital health industry. These digital health pioneers have been pushing market developments and have professionalized the market on multiple levels: in terms of revenue models, technical sophistication and early-stage financing.

In 2017 mHealth app publishers have a range of potential business models to choose from. The top three most attractive revenue models are licensing (e.g. contract with a third party based on pay-per-member), service sales (e.g. selling remote consulting or coaching through the app) and app development for third parties.

The report has also found that app publishers with a successful business (more than $1 million revenue per year) are releasing more complex health apps, which have a higher percentage of tools and SDK integrated, a higher rate of EHR (electronic health record) integration and are offering APIs for others to access apps health data.

However, developing a successful mHealth app is becoming harder and harder. On the demand side consumers are reluctant to download and use new apps, and on the supply side – app publishers need to invest more time and money into both development and marketing to be successful.

The report mHealth App Economics 2017 – Current Status and Future Trends in Mobile Health is available as a free download, featuring 26 pages with 18 charts. It was made possible with contribution from more than 2,400 mHealth app developers and healthcare professionals. You can get it from here.

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