David Lee Scher, MD offered this fascinating insight into the Mobile App as Pharma discussion:
My assessment of this question is that saturation of the entire market will only occur if enough excellent apps which provide an impact are found to be of similar efficacy. This will need to be borne out of comparative studies (the performance of which I think will be driven by payers). There might very well be saturation of sectors of the industry, such as fitness, wellness, diabetes and other specific disease management tools, remote monitoring, and others. Expansion of the industry has, at this point far exceeded adoption in clinical practice. This provides an opportunity to fairly rapidly compare products, and not be dependent necessarily on a few which may not prove effective. There will continue to be a robust growth period, but, as in the pharma industry, the clear winners and workhorse apps will be likened to brand named drugs, and others will be considered either ‘me toos’ or generics. I don’t think this analogy is too off-base as apps will be entities that are prescribed. Sales of apps will be done virtually (as most pharma will be as well). Efforts by Johns Hopkins and others to demonstrate efficacy will go a long way in vetting the winners and losers on one level giving people guidance. just my personal perspective.
First, I agree that payers will likely drive the studies and then user of these apps.
Second, I look forward to places like Johns Hopkins testing the efficacy of apps. The big winners of these studies will be very big winners. Plus, the big winners from these studies are going to be very big winners. It’s actually the perfect study since whether you find that the app is effective or not, you have something to publish.
I look forward to this suite of mobile health apps that dramatically improve healthcare. I don’t think we’re that far from it.