Breaking Down the Mobile Health Apps by Number

Dan Munro has a great blog post on Forbes that offers an overview of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report on the mobile health app market. Check out his whole article for all the findings, but I was really intrigued by his list of study results:
1. Every app categorized as “health and wellness” or “medical” in Apple’s AAPL -0.11% iTunes store was reviewed
2. Of the 43,000+ mobile health apps assessed for the report – only 23,682 were classified with a legitimate health function
3. 5 apps accounted for 15% of all downloads
4. 16,275 were considered patient facing
5. 7,407 were considered provider facing
6. Smartphone use is lowest (18%) in the 65+ demographic
7. More than 90% of the apps tested scored less than 40 on a scale of 100
8. Apps were further categorized by 7 capabilities:
– Inform (10,840 apps)
– Instruct (5,823 apps)
– Record/Capture data (5,095 apps)
– Display User entered data
– Guide
– Remind/Alert (1,357 apps)
– Communicate
– None of the 7 capabilities (1,622 apps)

I always love data and this is some interesting data. Dan’s headline was also another interesting piece of data: “Over 50% Of Mobile Health Apps Are Downloaded Less Than 500 Times.” We’ve talked about this before. It’s one thing to build a mobile health app and another thing to get someone to actually use it. Many fall short of the later objective.

One other stat in the list above that stood out to me was the split between provider facing mobile health apps and patient facing mobile health apps. I would have thought that more of them would be patient facing. That’s a lot of provider focused mobile health apps considering the size of the provider market. Of course, each of those doctors do control a lot of consumer spend.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • My biggest concern for app evaluation was with Apple. I asked how they select app for their healthcare professional list. Did they have a doctor on staff, nurse, and level of peer review…nothing..they picked apps that were cool…they have NO idea of the value or accuracy of the medical content. they directed me to their lawyer who said and i quote ” we can do whatever we want”. If you are pick a medical app you have to resource the company that is making it…understand their process..or you could be getting scammed.

  • They use to have a doctor in their team.
    In our experience (InstaMedi App as soon as we followed a few critical guidelines for medical apps (with sharing images)and we demontrated that we had security systems for HIPAA compliance implemented, everything went quite smooth.
    Hope this helps!

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