— Dr. Steven Eisenberg (@drseisenberg) October 31, 2013
This is a pretty interesting stat. Although, you could certainly change the stat and say that 44% of consumers have used a mobile health app or device. I guess sometimes in this mobile health world we think that everyone is trying out mobile health apps left and right. I guess the reality sets in that many aren’t using their mobile devices as health apps. Although, I wish I knew how the study measured who was using a health app or not. I bet many don’t realize they’re using a health app, but they are using one.
The challenge with most health apps isn’t the initial use. It’s getting people to use the app as part of their daily habits. I’m sitting right beside this treadmill that my wife bought many years ago. I believe the number of years we’ve had this treadmill is possibly more than the number of times my wife has used it to exercise. I have a bike, some fitness DVDs, and other exercise equipment that has a similar story. To my wife’s credit she does get out and run pretty often, which requires some shoes. (I mostly play ultimate frisbee and other sports. Thus why I haven’t used the equipment)
The same goes for so many mobile health apps and devices. My wife has downloaded or had access to many of those. None of them have cracked her daily routine. Although, I think that Janssen’s Care4Today app is getting close. I’ve asked her to write a blog post about her experience using that app for a future post.
The point being that it’s really hard for a health application to get widespread adoption. Not to mention regular use. Sure, many of them can put up some flashy numbers about downloads. The better number you should look at is Daily Active Users. A look at that stat will tell you a lot more about how an apps being adopted than some nebulous download number. Plus, getting Daily Active Users is a really tough challenge to overcome.