Until recently, digitized healthcare was a largely untapped sector within the mobile app space. Now, the global mobile health (mHealth) market is expected to reach about $333 billion by 2025, representing more than double of today’s market share.
This digital acceleration in healthcare was spurred by the pandemic, forcing providers and patients to rapidly adapt to virtual environments and giving mobile health apps the potential to improve patient diagnosis, treatment, and recovery while also encouraging overall health and wellness.
To this day, healthcare digitization is an ongoing trend and this massive sector encompasses some of the biggest apps in the mobile market. Apps such as MyFitnessPal or Headspace lead the way and inspire but the route to success in the mobile health sector is not an easy one.
So what are the challenges of bringing a health tech app to the market?
While creating healthcare apps presents particular challenges in terms of compliance, data protection, and data integration, bringing them to market is yet another hurdle. The bottom line is that your mHealth apps’ success will depend on functionality and commercial viability and your strategy needs to target both early engagement and sustained use.
While there is no single approach that is going to drive market growth for every mHealth app, there are several key strategies that can drive user awareness and conversion.
So if you’re planning to bring your health tech app to the market, here are our top seven strategies to consider:
#1 First Things First: Compliance
Before releasing your mHealth app to the market, there are some serious considerations around patient data privacy that you will need to review to avoid legal ramifications, potential fines, and damage to your company’s reputation.
Personal and medical information is considered Protected Health Information (PHI) and is therefore covered by HIPPA. In addition to HIPPA, GDPR and CCPA regulations may also apply to your app. It is important to scope out the compliance and regulation requirements pertaining to your app as early as possible in the development process to ensure the most seamless and compliant user experience.
EHR (Electronic Health Records) integration is a great way to ensure your health tech app is complying with laws and regulations. Working with an app developer that is certified in EHR integration will ensure the PHI handled within your app is kept secure while being accessible to physicians in an easy-to-use format.
Finally, using product road mapping will allow you to strategize how to adapt your health tech app’s functionality over time to stay relevant to your users’ needs.
#2 Consider Integrating with Wearables for RTM and RPM
We all like apps that provide the most value and feel the leading edge. mHealth apps have the unique opportunity to interface with wearable devices that can measure your glucose level, heart rate or even sleep (think Apple Watch for example).
In today’s market, you have access to all kinds of wearable tech including new innovations such as smart rings. For example, Oura – a health monitor tracking sleep, heart rate and activity – offers personalised insights generated via its app and easily accessible by the consumer.
Whether you’re going for Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) solution (for example blood pressure tracker) or Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) solution (which monitors non-physiological data), enabling these features at the earliest stages of app development will ensure your go-to-market strategy is a success. To take a deeper dive into the world of RTM and learn everything you need to know, download this eBook for further information.
#3 Early Market Testing
We all have heard the saying “it’s better to fail fast”. The truth is, if you wait to release the perfect product in the mobile space, you can risk a lot of front-end investment that could simply miss the mark. On the other hand, creating a minimum viable product (MVP), or Beta version, and testing it out on actual users (to see what works and what doesn’t) can provide the fastest path to success.
When optimising your UX and UI, consider when, how, and who will use your app. For example, if your app is aimed to be used in high-risk scenarios, make sure the instructions are clear for the user to follow. If your health tech app is for the elderly, use large fonts and buttons. Always put yourself in the user’s shoes, as even the colour scape of your application can affect user engagement.
Don’t forget that the beta version of your mHealth application should cover the basics of the “user journey”:
These four pillars will ensure your mobile app attracts and retains potential customers successfully.
#4 Spy on your Competition
A great place to start is by examining competitor healthcare apps. See what functionalities and UX/UI work (or don’t work!) for them to set the foundation for your MVP. Remember to prioritize functionality over visuals at this phase. User feedback surveys can be helpful too but only if you ask the right questions to the right audience. Analyzing user feedback with respect to key performance indicators (KPIs), like the average session length or click-through rate, will allow you to calibrate your approach in your final product optimization. Speed can work to your advantage here, as the faster you build your MVP, the faster you root -cause and solve potential problems.
#5 Personalize Wherever Possible
Creating tailored experiences is extremely important for mHealth apps. Wherever possible, your app should have a custom feel from the app persona, dashboards, push notifications, and gamified achievement badges to name a few. Here are some examples:
- Allow the user to upload a picture or create an emoji when onboarding their account. It will instantly make the app feel more custom
- Allow for customisable dashboards displaying summary data. It will help with driving user engagement and sustainment
- Incorporate achievement badges for engaging in content, completing tasks, or reaching certain milestones (e.g. calories burned, hours standing, etc.). It’s a great way to build loyalty with your users.
- Use in-app messaging and push notifications to convey important information and allow users to tailor the level of notifications they receive.
#6 Optimize the App Store Listing of your Health Tech App
To help your app stand out from the crowd, you need a solid App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy.
Successful ASO will result in better category ranking, keyword ranking, and boosted conversion rate. Health tech apps, unlike others, need to take a unique approach in their ASO. Beyond categorizing the app properly, the listing should provide a concise and value-centric description of your app. Utilise bullet lists, screenshots that capture the app functionality, and the right keywords to educate your potential users on the value and functionalities that your app offers. For wearable solutions, convey this message in your app screenshots to avoid any confusion from the customer once they onboard the app. Don’t forget to optimise for the Apple Watch App Store if required!
#7 PR, Blog Posts & Social Media
For mHealth apps, it’s essential to demonstrate credibility with your potential customer, whether they’re healthcare providers or individuals. Reaching out to relevant PR outlets or medical journals regarding your app’s release is a great way to get the right people excited about your app before it’s officially launched.
If PR isn’t within your budget, publishing interesting and valuable content can help build brand awareness too. A blog can be a perfect medium to explain your app’s value in the context of a use case or customer success story and gain high-quality organic users. So if you haven’t already, grab that keyboard and start typing!
Social media marketing is a growing space and can reach millions of organic users helping you to build brand awareness. If you’re trying to gain users fast, consider partnering with influencers who can test your app before its release date and share their experience with large audiences.
Building a strong and lasting relationship with your mHealth app users is key to gaining quick market adoption, driving downloads, and user engagement. Really, the process starts in the app development phase by taking a user-first approach. Ensure to protect user data, make it accessible to patients and doctors, consider potential integration with wearables, and gain early feedback on a prototype version. Finding ways to personalise the app through UX/UI and CRM tools will increase user engagement and build loyalty. Want to drive excitement ahead of your drop date? Take advantage of blog posts, social media and PR. With these strategies in place, you will build a strong foundation for a winning mHealth go-to-market strategy.
If you want to find out more about how improving the mobile customer experience can impact your app marketing campaign or you have any app marketing questions feel free to reach out to the Yodel Mobile Growth Team. Additionally, you can sign up to our newsletter for exclusive industry updates and app marketing insights from the ASO Agency of the Year. Want to find out more about optimising your app? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #AppMarketingUK LinkedIn group.