Doctors Will Replace App Stores as Main Distribution Channels for Mobile Health Apps


In the Year 2015?

By Markus Pohl

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Dear Publisher Dr. David Edward Marcinko

Please review this brief survey and press release. We think it is of some interest to you and your ME-P readers.

Berlin, 24 November 2010A global survey by research2guidance amongst leading mHealth developers and healthcare companies shows that mHealth apps will predominantly be distributed through traditional healthcare channels by 2015.


In the years to come mHealth applications will cease to be distributed primarily through the app stores survey participants anticipate. At the moment app stores are still the distribution channels of choice but in the future it is expected that traditional healthcare distribution channels like hospitals and specialized healthcare product vendors will become the predominant distribution channels. This would represent a significant shift when compared to the market today, as the smartphone app store model has been the key driver behind the initial success of mHealth applications over the last two years.

The Survey Results

More than half of all respondents (53%) believe that currently app stores are the best distribution channels followed only by healthcare websites (49%). Traditional health distribution channels like doctors (34%), hospitals (31%) and pharmacies (16%) are ranked as second and third tier distribution channels today. Despite the fact that mobile operators are regarded as players who will help the mHealth market to grow, they are not seen as appropriate distribution channels either now or in the future.

In 5 years’ time survey participants anticipate that the traditional distribution channels like hospitals (68%), doctors (65%) and traditional healthcare websites (56%) will become the main platforms on which to sell mHealth solutions. Generally speaking all distribution channels will grow in importance, but developers envision that in just 5 years’ time the major distribution channel will be doctors prescribing or suggesting applications to patients as a component of treatment.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted by research2guidance to identify emerging trends demonstrated by common thinking amongst early adopters in this new market. It is part of the comprehensive “Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015“ (

About research2guidance:

research2guidance is a Berlin-based market research company specialized in the mobile industry. The company’s service offerings include comprehensive market studies, as well as bespoke research and consultancy.


Robert Kuersten


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5 Responses

    mHealth Apps: 8 Reasons Why It Matters For Pharma

    The potential of mHealth solutions has been discussed for many years, but only recently, with the advent of the new smartphone application based mHealth model, have pharmaceutical companies begun to realize how mobile services might be instrumental in the development of exciting innovations in their own businesses.

    The pharma market has always been cash-rich, as it needs to be given the investment required to continue the research and development behind the medical advances which have made such a difference to humanity. Nonetheless increasing pressure from regulators, thin pipelines and the patent cliff which has seen the rise of generics is a threat to continued prosperity. Innovative business models will help pharmaceutical manufacturers to remain competitive amidst these challenges.

    Pharma companies should understand that mobile applications are an innovation area that matters. We see 8 good reasons why smartphone apps matter to pharma:

    1. Potential reach: Today the smartphone and mHealth markets are still small, but enormous growth rates will enable pharma companies to reach out to every 5th citizen on earth in 2015.

    2. Differentiation: The potential for smartphone apps to support patient adherence and compliance makes them the ideal add-on for pharmaceutical products. Therapy supporting pharma applications for example will not only be providing a service, they will also differentiate their products from those offered by the competition.

    3. Facilitate improved outcomes for patients taking the company’s drugs: The success of a therapy is dependent upon correct compliance. Mobile applications provide the opportunity for pharmaceutical manufacturers to support patients by supplying applications that assist patients in achieving compliance, thereby improving patient outcomes.

    4. Contemporary marketing: Physicians are already using smartphones and tablets to access healthcare related information. For pharmaceutical companies it would make sense to re-allocate marketing budgets spent on printed medical reference and CME programs to applications. They cost a fraction of what printed materials cost, are more innovative, represent a real value of less than $5, and fit into the regulatory framework in even the strictest systems.

    5. Learn how patients use their medicine: Mobile applications offer a direct channel of communication between the manufacturer of a pharmaceutical product and the patient. Applications provide direct usage information, which can assist in understanding the usage habits of patients.

    6. Saving costs: Smartphone apps have the potential to offer various cost-saving areas for pharmaceutical companies. Examples would be applications that support the exchange of results in medical trials, information on customers that would be useful to review before meeting with them, etc.

    7. Improve relations with doctors: Apps are very personal tools, more so than websites of medical books. Visiting doctors is an essential but expensive aspect of pharma marketing, and the opportunity to connect directly with physicians by providing a useful app would be a good way to create new relationships with prescribing healthcare professionals.

    8. Increasing revenue: Some mHealth solutions (like “patient monitoring” applications) might become the block-busters of the future, selling millions for a subscription of $10-$20 per month, even with the price for mHealth apps at between $5 and $10.

    Please see our “Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015” for more details and a detailed discussion on business opportunities for Pharma companies based on the new smartphone based mHealth market model.

    About research2guidance:
    research2guidance is a Berlin-based market research company specialized in the mobile industry. The company’s service offerings include comprehensive market studies, as well as bespoke research and consultancy.

    Contact: Robert Kuersten
    +49 30 609 893 366

    Link to “Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015”:

    Link to related blog post:

    Twitter: mHealth apps: 8 reasons why it matters for Pharma

    Markus Pohl


  2. Markus,

    Like you, mobile clinical workspaces must be always on for doctors – whether in the operating room, our office, a remote clinic or a lab.

    We shouldn’t have to think about technology. It should just work – whenever, wherever the point of care takes place.

    Otherwise, it is DOA.

    Dr. Kingston


  3. Top uses of mHealth technologies by Physicians

    According to a recent report by Deloitte, about a quarter of physicians use mHealth technologies and the three most beneficial uses of mHealth include (but are not limited to):

    • 75% of physicians being able to access clinical information during patient encounters.
    • 72% of physicians being able to research diseases, conditions, interventions, and prescriptions.
    • 63% of physicians being able to engage in continued medical education.

    Source: Deloitte


  4. MSFT and Wearables?

    Wading Into Wearables Unlike smartphones and tablets, Microsoft’s recent actions suggest that it isn’t going to let the wearables opportunity pass it by.

    The company’s Band health and fitness tracker is sold out until 2015. The company is also venturing into software development for wearables with simple apps for Android Wear, including a OneNote companion app.



  5. Dear David,

    I am happy to share with you Research2Guidance’s second special story “It costs $425,000 on average to develop an mHealth app”. This article is focused on the costs side of mHealth app development. The earnings / revenue side is also part of our “mHealth Economics – How mHealth App Publishers Are Monetizing Their Apps” report.

    Today the average mHealth app costs $425,000 to develop until launch. 47% of the costs are outsourced externally on development, 11% are outsourced externally on marketing.

    In the article below you will also find out:

    • Pharma companies are outsourcing most of their app development
    • Integration with EHR/MHR are the big cost drivers in mHealth app development
    • mHealth app development is time-consuming, which is driving up costs
    • Costs have increased tenfold over the course of ten years – and will become higher in the future with new technologies

    What do high app costs mean for …

    … mHealth app publishers?
    … IT service providers?
    … agencies?

    If you are interested in producing an exclusive material and adding a unique angle to your story by interviewing Markus Pohl, Co-founder & Research Director at Research2Guidance, please do not hesitate to contact me:

    This year we will be publishing more free reports. We’ll keep you updated.

    Kind regards,
    Stela Nikolova

    Liked by 1 person

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