COVID-19 pandemic forced people to remain indoors while also putting an emphasis on staying healthy. And mobile health (mHealth) apps came to save the day.
The global pandemic led to the rapid adoption and penetration of mHealth technologies. One of the main causes was the intensifying need to monitor and diagnose patients remotely, as well as to analyze patients’ information. mHealth applications played an important part in MedTech innovation which is why their popularity increased at a great rate. They’ve proved to improve our lifestyle in many ways, from helping to look after our mental health to tracking our physical condition.
According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2021, there were 53,979 mHealth apps available just in the Apple App Store alone. And Grand View Research reports that the global mHealth apps market size was valued at USD 40.05 billion in 2020.
Top funded digital health categories worldwide in 2020, Statista
In 2020, the mHealth apps category took third place among the worldwide top-funded digital health categories. Many entrepreneurs began considering transforming their ideas into an app. However, before starting your custom healthcare software development project, it’s vital to look into what is already popular on the market.
The most popular categories of apps
The variety of functions that medical apps provide is vast. Smartphone owners can use remote eHealth solutions to schedule visits to a hospital, communicate with doctors online, follow recovery plans, track heartbeat, or get fit. The most prospective mHealth apps categories, according to Statista, include:
- Remote monitoring
- Condition management
- Online consultations
- Fitness tracking
- Nutrition and weight loss
- Reminders and alerts
- Patient health records
- Medical compliance applications
Apps for clinical use and assistance in diagnosis
Step-by-step medical assistance is one of the most prospective niches of healthcare app development. Such applications contain lists of hospitals, doctors, symptoms of illnesses and conditions and enable customers to diagnose themselves and refer to a doctor if needed.
For example, the iTriage app comprises information about thousands of symptoms. You can choose a needed type of care and search for a specialist in your area right away. Physician and nurse advice lines, or hotlines are available if you happen to need urgent aid.
iTriage was devised by two ER doctors who desired to create a special symptom checker that would empower people to understand their symptoms and get help in the right way. One of the users expressed their gratitude for the service because it helped them identify that their 89-year-old grandmother was having a stroke.
Apps specialized in first aid like Pocket First Aid & CPR contain simple video instructions and illustrations for all age categories. A medical application helped a man to diagnose injuries and prevent shock after he was buried under a pile of rubble for 65 hours during the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. You never know when mHealth can save your or someone’s life.
Applications for remote monitoring and telehealth
Many illnesses develop and worsen just because we don’t notice them on time. In addition, it’s quite common for people to delay their visit to a doctor, until their condition is critical. And even after the treatment, we often don’t show up for follow-up checkups because we’re just too busy or lazy to do that. Remote monitoring apps strive to solve this problem.
A variety of applications offer to check your health indicators to keep them under control. Predisposed to cardiovascular diseases? Apps like Cardiio and Instant Heart Rate can help you examine your palpitation by using a phone camera that traces the increase and decrease in the amount of light that is absorbed between heartbeats. All you need is to press your index finger to the camera and get a result.
Image Source: Google Play Store
People with chronic diseases need to control their health indicators more thoroughly and regularly. For example, those who have diabetes have to keep to the normal glucose level. On the app market, there is a big niche of solutions for diabetics. An app Diabetes:M calculates doses of insulin considering different factors, such as exercise, stress, menstruation, sickness, pain, alcohol. Based on real data, it predicts blood sugar levels hours ahead and gives recommendations on the proper nutrition.
Some apps provide users with precise health indexes by analyzing data from wearables. For instance, the Sugar Sense app works in connection with an iHealth glucometer and other devices and tracks your blood sugar level, glucose, carbs, and weight.
Tracking works. Still, from time to time you need to consult a doctor. Telemedicine apps are a smart and time-saving means of communication between doctors and patients. You can consult a doctor 24 hours a day using MDLive, LiveHealth Online, or Express Care Virtual. You don’t need to leave your home and wait in line. Doctors consult you in real-time via your smartphone and can send a prescription to the nearest drugstore. Although apps are free, you pay doctors for the services.
Reminder and alert apps
Sticking to prescriptions is a direct way to a smooth recovery. However, a lot of people fail to do that. Incorrect consumption of medicine and dosage tracking causes 125,000 deaths and 700,000 hospital visits per year. If you have issues following a doctor’s recommendations, leave it for reminder apps to notify you about taking your medicine.
It’s no surprise that these types of apps are extremely popular on the market. For example, more than 6 million people use Medisafe Pill & Med Reminder to help manage their medications.
The app functions as a pill reminder and an alarm for all medication needs. It provides support for complex dose schedules and helps with the management of doctors’ appointments. Family or caregivers have a Medfriend function available to support the patient.
In the U.S., the app has implemented drug-to-drug interaction warnings about how meds might conflict.
This app also has timezone support, so the reminders are never late. In addition, Medisafe Pill & Med Reminder can be synchronized with an Android Wear or Apple watch.
Image Source: Apple Store
Applications for easy medical referencing and diagnosing
Booking visits to doctors through a call can be very time-consuming and inefficient. Unless you use managing apps, such as Book my Doc. It allows patients to book appointments just in a few taps.
Thanks to the app, patients can choose a doctor based on their specialty, location, and particular health insurance, and then book an empty slot.
Features for doctors enable them to see patients’ ratings and their whole booking history. Doctors can quickly respond to new requests and generate new patients whenever available.
Health and fitness apps
Leading a healthy lifestyle has never been an easy task. And it became even more complicated during the pandemic. The gyms are still mostly closed and people have to stay inside. In such an atmosphere, it is much harder to find the will and motivation to stay consistent with the exercises or healthy habits. Apps came through here as well.
There’s been a surge in the download and use of health and fitness apps after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In India, the health and fitness app downloads increased by 157%, and by 47% in the Asia Pacific. No wonder why this market accounted for $4.0 million in 2020, and is estimated to reach $18.7 million by 2030.
The health and fitness apps are usually divided into categories like diet and nutrition, exercise and weight loss, and meditation apps.
Image Source: Google Play Store
One of the key players on the market is Fitbit. This app is an all-in-one solution. It allows users to track their day and progress, gives access to free workouts, meditation tracks, sleep tools, and nutrition programs.
In Fitbit, users can also connect with friends, join communities and start challenges. To help with motivation, the app enables people to set goals, celebrate milestones, and earn achievement badges.
Image Source: Apple Store
Another market key player is MyFitnessPal, a calorie and macro tracker that strives to help users lose weight and build healthy habits. The app has a huge food database that includes over 14 million items so you’ll be able to log everything that you’ve consumed.
Innovative tools like Meal Scan allow users to log a meal in an instant by simply pointing at it with a phone’s camera for real-time AI-powered results.
Pregnancy can be both exciting and scary. Every day as the baby grows, you may notice changes in your well-being, body and habits. This time also evokes a ton of questions. Can I take a hot bath? Can I eat pistachio nuts? How often should I exercise?
There is a broad range of different pregnancy apps that can help you through this process. And although the apps are not a replacement for a consultation with a doctor, they can provide helpful guidance and answer these little questions that parents might have.
Image Source: Apple Store
Ovia Pregnancy Tracker has a great deal of features, from informative articles and tips supporting you through the pregnancy to a helpful customizable tracker that you can use to track almost everything related to your health.
Moreover, the app hosts a helpful and encouraging community of expecting parents. You can reach out to certain people and ask them questions, like people in the same pregnancy term, from your city, or with similar dietary restrictions.
By concentrating on the physical body a lot, we tend to forget that the emotional and mental health of a pregnant person is as vital. Hello Belly provides users with various meditation practices and yoga video classes. Other features include checklists and handbooks (like a hospital bag checklist), and a week-by-week 3D and AR visualizations of a baby in the womb. In addition, the cute artwork and design of the app makes it enjoyable to use.
A special place on the market is taken by contraction trackers. They help parents monitor times, durations, and frequency of the contractions during the entire labor. One of the top players in this niche, Full Term – Contraction Timer, is also simple in design so as not to clutter the screen and obstruct parents from concentrating on the labor.
This post has been sponsored by Steelkiwi Inc.
I am the co-founder and managing director of software development company Steelkiwi. With over 10 years of experience, I know how to oversee business activities to ensure they produce the desired results. I am responsible for business development and maintenance of everyday company needs. I also assess risks and ensure their minimization.