325,000 mobile health apps available in 2017 – Android now the leading mHealth platform

The number of apps for healthcare continues to-grow 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 mobile health apps shows robust growth of 25% year-on-year but even though the growth rate of number of health apps is still high, overall they are slowing down: The growth rate of new mHealth app additions to the major app stores last year 57%, this year’s growth rate has declined to 25%.

These are some of the findings of our 2017 edition of the mHealth Economics report. The mHealth Economics program is the biggest program in mobile and digital health with free reports, paid reports, webinars, market analysis and outreach into the global digital health community. You can download the report for free

Follow R2G on LinkedIn to get soon the summary results of our latest research study on “What drives success in the digital health market?

Android is now the lead platform for mobile health

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

For health app publishers, Android and iOS are the only options left with a serious outreach. The options for distributing health apps are limited, with Microsoft announcing a short while ago that they will no longer be developing new features or new hardware for Windows Mobile, which means de facto that Windows Mobile is dead.


Digital health is an interesting field – also for those who are uninvolved in the health industry

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

Digital health has developed into a serious business

Digital health still attracts new market entrants. Every year newcomers are pushing into digital health. 28% of digital health practitioners have less than 2 years of industry experience. On the other hand 10% 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 digital health market on multiple levels: in terms of revenue models, technical sophistication and early-stage financing.

Business & monetization models: In 2017 mobile health 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.

Technical aspect of mobile health apps: App publishers with a successful business (more than $1 million revenue per year) are releasing more complex health apps. These complex apps have an above-average development time, 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.

Financing digital health ideas: Over the last couple of years a sophisticated eco-system has developed for start-ups to finance digital health ideas. 350+ accelerators and many times over VCs are investing into digital healthcare. The market for early stage investment into digital health is worth $5.4bn USD (2016). And 2017 seems to be a record-breaking year. Apart from the sheer money flow into the eco-system, investors are adjusting their offerings to the very specific conditions in the digital health industry with its regulations and long product development cycles.

Successful mHealth app publishing is an investment business

Developing a successful mobile health app is becoming harder and harder. On the demand side consumers are reluctant to download and use new apps. On the supply side app publishers need to invest more time and money into both app development and app marketing to be successful. Our research data show that apps from successful mHealth app publishers are more complex (integrating more tools and SDKs, using API aggregation services, integrating their apps with Electronic Health Records) and are developed on a higher budget.

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