PR exec: Don't ignore mobile in healthcare marketing plans

Don't ignore mobile platforms when developing a healthcare marketing plan or, in the case of regulated products, for safety monitoring and regulatory compliance, says one marketing and public-relations executive.

Just look at the numbers to understand why. The more than 6,000 health, fitness and medical apps in the Apple App Store had been downloaded by more than 1 million users as of January, according to Jay Byrne, CEO of v-Fluence International, a St. Louis-based online marketing firm. More than 1,000 iPhone health apps were launched in December 2009 alone, Byrne says.

"New mobile phone applications in areas like disease management, medication tracking, drug recalls, health cost and record management are being released daily. With the recent addition of Google to the smartphone market, you can bet that new Android platform health applications will start rolling out at a faster pace in 2010," Byrne writes on his company's blog.

Byrne sees particular opportunities in pharmaceutical marketing and supply-chain management. However, he cautions about a certain gray area in this fast-emerging market. "At a February 2009 conference, Don Witters from the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health declared that the FDA has jurisdiction over any device that diagnoses, treats or prevents a disease. When asked about the surge of some types of applications, such as glucose meters to physician contact tools, Witters replied, 'Well, I think the real answer is "We don't know"'," Byrne writes.

For more:
- check out this v-Fluence blog post