Health apps: they’ve become ingrained in healthcare and society, and there are currently more than 165,000 of them available, according to a recent report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. However, just 12% of those account for more than 90% of all downloads. It’s clear some provide higher value, or at least have far higher adoption, than others.
Among the report’s findings were although most apps (two-thirds) focus on general wellness and fitness, healthcare providers are expressing greater interest in the use of apps specifically for chronic disease management. The options for that are growing; nearly a quarter of consumer apps now focus on disease and treatment management.
IMS also notes, however, the sheer volume of choice can be a negative. Just like consumers, physicians often struggle with the number of apps available and the limited mechanisms for assessing them. “Platforms for rating, evaluating and, in some cases, certifying apps are becoming available to providers—enabling them to more confidently prescribe apps as part of disease prevention and treatment protocols,” the report stated.
While IMS analyzed 26,864 apps for its study, we’ll look at a few apps currently making waves among healthcare providers and investors.
Palo Alto, CA-based HealthTap is an enterprise app that offers a health-management platform to employers and aims to help employees find healthcare providers within their insurance plan as easily as possible. It also provides answers to health questions, telemedicine, medical reminders, and integrated diagnostic testing and prescription management. HealthTap has raised $38.3 million in funding, according to Venture Beat.
This five-year-old secure messenger startup, based in Santa Monica, CA, is out to revolutionize medical communications. It allows healthcare providers to text each other without violating HIPAA by providing a platform with secure, encrypted channels, as well as authentication processes and enterprise-level controls over networks and users. According to Fortune, TigerText recently closed a Series C round of funding worth $50 million, which brings its total funding so far to more than $80 million.
This Boston-based startup aims to address the lack of infrastructure between health systems, providers, nursing facilities, home care services, etc., that are now increasingly attempting to coordinate patient care. If one of their patients turns up at an ER or urgent care clinic in the network, both sides are notified, and the admitting facility receives care team contact information and any special instructions.
According to MobiHealthNews, PatientPing just completed an $8 million round of funding led by Google Ventures and FPrime Capital, bringing their total funding to $9.6 million. The company plans to use the funding to expand its service from four states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Michigan) to nationwide.
Johns Hopkins researchers recently announced a new research app that will aim to better detect and manage epileptic seizures. The app, which is free, collects users’ data before, during, and after a seizure, including their heart rate, movement, and responsiveness. It aims to help patients understand their seizures better and adhere better to their physician's care instructions. It also provides a journal for patients to track their medication and symptoms.
The researchers’ ultimate goal is to compile data for one to two years and use it to create a new app that will be able to detect most types of seizure types and generate help alerts when appropriate, reports the Baltimore Business Journal.
This two-year-old social network for healthcare providers developed an initial cult following that has since swelled to more than 500,000 users and is poised to continue upward. According to the company, four out of 10 U.S. medical students use the service because they grew up with social media, and bring that experience into the medical world. It’s been described as the Instagram for doctors, allowing them to swap patient photos—for a combination of entertainment and diagnosis support.
The company says its larger goal is to attract tens of millions of providers, ranging from specialists to rural physicians in the developing world, and to figure out how to generate revenue in part through its paging service, which allows users who need urgent diagnostic assistance to notify relevant specialists.
Figure 1 has raised more than $10 million from venture investors, reports The Globe and Mail.