Diabetes apps, devices remain top focus for mHealth developers

Diabetes treatment and management remains the most popular mHealth app focus for developers, despite the fact there is increasing competition and more than 1,500 such apps already in market.

The prime reason, according to a Research2Guidance blog post by Sean Phillips, is the solid business proposition given increasing numbers of adults being diagnosed with diabetes and that 70 percent of mHealth practitioners rated diabetes highest for its market potential over the next five years.

"From a diverse range of chronic conditions, the business potential preferences of mHealth app publishers haven't changed in the past five years," Phillips says. The data comes from the research firm's annual mHealth App Developer Economics Survey 2015. The study polled 5,000 experts and diabetes has landed in the top spot for app developers since the study began in 2010.

Diabetes app development is moving forward into user-centric solutions with connected devices, and competition is increasing as big companies--including payers, providers and device manufacturers--are pulling in apps that provide seamless data sharing. One of the most recent efforts is the collaboration between an mHealth app and online portal effort by Philips and the Dutch Radboud University Medical Center to help providers make better decisions regarding patients living with Type 1 diabetes by reducing the complexity of chronic disease self-care requirements.

As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, independent app makers, as well as large providers and payers are creating and developing mobile diabetes management tools. Such tools are progressing far beyond just tracking food intake and blood sugar levels to more comprehensive capabilities to help diabetics be more proactive in healthcare and in the management of the chronic ailment. Mobile phone use in health coaching efforts is one such advancement, with researchers reporting it can boost adherence to healthy behaviors, improve glucoregulation levels and foster better mental health for patients managing Type 2 diabetes.

Phillips notes that while just a few years ago industry watchers expected obesity management tools would catch up and surpass diabetes tool, that has not materialized. Just 38 percent of mHealth app practitioners rate obesity as having a high business potential, with hypertension (29 percent), depression (23 percent) and chronic heart disease (16 percent) landing in the rankings, respectively.

For more information:
- read the Research2Guidance blog post