It happens every January like clockwork: Fitness centers get more crowded, people start watching what they eat and a great opportunity presents itself for healthcare apps.
To take advantage of that opportunity requires a bit of research into what people are looking for in such apps. App testing company Applause analyzed 3.3 million app store ratings and reviews for popular diet and exercise apps with scores ranging from 0 to 100, according to MarketWatch.
The research found that users are 2.5 times more positive toward diet and fitness apps than most popular retail, media or travel apps. And a look at some of the ratings and other insights on healthcare apps can provide a clue into what app users find valuable.
Here are seven tips we’ve put together based on those insights that will help you build a healthcare mobile app that has the potential to succeed.
#1 Focus on monitoring nutrition
The top-rated healthcare app was Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal with an 87 rating, followed by Lose It! By FitNow with an 85 rating, showing the importance of nutrition information to app users.
In general, high reviews were attributed to features like easy navigation, fun and performance. Calorie Counter has more than four million foods in its database, which also points to the importance of having a robust offering that provides users all the information they need without going to other sources.
#2 Focus on monitoring exercise
Sports Tracker by Sports Tracking Technologies was another high scorer (82). It provides users with the ability to measure their routes, speed and heart rate information, as well as follow their progress when they exercise.
One way this healthcare app encourages users to come back again and again is by providing a workout diary, where they can store all their training data.
#3 Make it a challenge
Challenges by Nexercise also scored an 82. It offers the extra push of motivation some need by turning it into a friendly competition between friends, coworkers or even against your own personal goals to win prizes. In doing so, getting one person downloading this healthcare app is likely to tell others so they can compete.
#4 Go beyond biometrics
In a recent Wired article, Nike’s chief scientist considered commonly collected biometrics—steps, temperature and blood oxygen—as irrelevant to athletic performance. Instead, he promoted the importance of smart algorithms for going beyond that and delving into actually analyzing human performance.
#5 Think about your audience
The same Wired article also pointed to an Adidas heart rate monitor that clips onto its biometric sports bra as an example of actually thinking like your customers to find opportunities. “At least someone finally figured out that women already run with a band around their chest,” according to the article.
#6 Get social
Many of the apps focus on building a community of sorts, by allowing people to share information via social media. Sports Tracker, for example, allows you to share workout data and photos on Sports Tracker, Facebook and Twitter, and you can browse your friends’ profiles and comment on their workouts and photos.
#7 Look at missed opportunities
Also according to Wired, “People who could most benefit from this technology—the old, the chronically ill, the poor—are being ignored.” Companies tend to focus on the affluent and tech-savvy, rather than ‘navigating the labyrinthine world of the FDA, HIPAA, and the other alphabet soup bureaucracies.’
But with a $2 trillion annual cost of chronic disease and a Pew Foundation survey’s findings that 45% of US adults are dealing with at least one chronic condition, those companies could be losing out on a huge opportunity.
There is a real opportunity in healthcare apps, and we hope these seven tips can help you make the most of it.