Why 74% of smartphone apps are dropped by the 10th use

“If you build it, they will come.”  That seems to be the mantra of the tech startups that are churning out health tracking apps for our phones. But aside from the worried well of the Quantified Self movement, will Real Live Patients actually use these apps to improve health outcomes? That’s what Consumer Health Information Corporation (CHIC) wanted to find out when they surveyed about 400 smartphone owners to evaluate the likelihood of patient adherence.*

What we know so far is that we tend to exhibit a bit of a kid-in-a-candy-store initial infatuation with new and sparkly things.  Continue reading

An open letter to mobile health app developers and their funders

UPDATE:  This guest post by the late Dr. Jessie Gruman was originally published on the Center for Advancing Health’s Prepared Patient blog in February, 2013. CFAH was founded by Jessie, the author of AfterShock, a book that helps patients navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis.

As a patient, writer and respected advocate, she sent this open letter to the tech hypemeisters of Silicon Valley.

I hope they’re paying attention.

◊    ◊     ◊  Continue reading

Does knowing change behaving?

“Skate to where the puck is going.”  That’s a common expression here in Canada, largely attributed to hockey great Wayne Gretsky.  It basically says if you want to accomplish something, go directly to where it will really count. Or, as I like to translate that advice for the benefit of all you Silicon Valley start-ups working away on developing yet another new self-tracking health app: “For Pete’s sake, go find some Real Live Patients to talk (and listen) to first before you decide where you’re going!”

And as one sage pondered on Twitter:

“Why do we think self-tracking devices will work when mirrors and bathroom scales have so far failed?”

Speaking of Real Live Patients, here’s one who contacted me in response to a recent blog post I wrote about health apps for smartphones: Continue reading

Guess which smartphone your doctor carries?

Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android?  Which sells more? Well, if you were to look at overall market share, the answer is Android (in smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy, LG, Motorola, etc.)

In fact, a recent Nielson’s survey reported that Android reached 51.8% market share in the U.S. compared to Apple’s 34.3%.  Android has enjoyed a sharp rise in popularity since its debut just four short years ago.

But according to Emergency Medicine physician Dr. Iltifat Husain, founder and editor-in-chief of iMedicalApps, Android has not seemed able to gain the same popularity in at least one target market, and that market is health care professionals. Apple’s dominance in medicine is well documented, in fact.  A 2011 study found that over 75% of physicians own an Apple mobile device. Continue reading