New Year, New Opportunities: 5 key roles Pharma companies should investigate in 2015 to increase their chances of success in the mHealth app market

With each New Year new opportunities, and old, arise for businesses to turn their mis-fortunes around. Pharma companies, having belonged to the most active group of mHealth app publishers, yet failing to have any significant impact when compared to their performance in the traditional healthcare market, raise an important question …  “Is 2015 the year in which Pharma companies can seize the opportunity to stand out as key players in the mHealth app market?”

Over the last 5 years the twelve leading Pharma companies have published over 700 apps, however only four of these companies have managed to attract a user base of more than 100,000 app users. This is just one of the results of the “Pharma App Market Benchmarking 2014” reports, published in October 2014.

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The “Pharma App Benchmarking 2014” report posits, that If Pharma companies are to have any great impact this year and in the future in the mHealth market then they must improve significantly on their previous performance, and look towards other key roles which better suit their assets and skills. Such roles as:

  1. Connected app publisher: This is the current role which, if Pharma companies continue to play, will require them to restructure their current mHealth business model. They will continue to be challenged in their selection of innovative app ideas, designing successful business models, making better use of existing concepts and codes, or in leveraging existing marketing channels to promote their apps. However, this might not be enough to compete against the numerous mHealth app developers who are both sophisticated and innovative or tech giants Apple, Google, Samsung, to name a few, that have recently entered the mHealth market.
  2. mHealth app investor: If Pharma Companies were to look towards app investment they would need to provide a fund with which to provide promising, or already successful, mHealth apps with capital and resources. This role would require robust screening and evaluation capabilities. VCs and incubators that concentrate on apps are able to work off a pipeline of 1,000 mHealth apps per year.
  3. App aggregator (app store): With more than 100,000 mHealth apps listed in Apple App Store and Google Play, the lack of visibility creates a need for specialized mHealth app stores. Pharma companies could manage and promote these mHealth app stores and pre-select mHealth apps which fit to their core products and/or fulfill current market demands and trends. It does not matter which compliance app is downloaded as long it increases the adherence of the users and allows more users to find the right app for their needs.
  4. Data provider /API manager: There are and will continue to be a large number of mHealth apps capturing millions of vital data metrics from their users every day. However most of it is be stored on “walled garden” servers with healthcare professional having little of no access to the information. Currently there are companies which struggle to bridge the gap between the app economy and healthcare systems; and if Pharma companies could break into this dynamic market, with all their financial strength and their immense value, they could not only become one of the leading data providers but secure for itself vital data.
  5. Incubator: Many technology driven mHealth app companies require a refinement of their business model, an access to traditional healthcare sales channels or just a professional working environment in order to succeed. Pharma companies could provide these solutions and in return tap into the creative entrepreneurial culture found within so many start-up companies that is required to succeed in the mHealth market. Furthermore Pharma companies might have the chance to participate in the success of those companies by the way of small investments.

In conclusion if Pharma companies are to succeed and have a significant impact in the mHealth app market then they must resolve to explore bold new avenues in 2015, otherwise …they will flounder. Whilst this is not a serious threat to their core business at present, the story might look quite different in another five years time, when the New Year may not hold as many opportunities for those Pharma companies which failed to diversify their strategy.

The “Pharma App Benchmarking 2014” provides a detailed analysis about how Pharma companies have penetrated the new mHealth app channel and what options are available to them at present and in the future. To see a preview of the report please click here.

Feedback and comments are as always very welcome.

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UPDATE: Our report “EU Countries’ mHealth App Market Ranking 2015” is out now. Download it for free.

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