By many accounts the biggest opportunity for mobile health is to help people better self-manage their chronic conditions. It is puzzling then as to why so few apps available for smartphones today aim to help people manage these conditions. There is certainly a need for them.
According to the West Wireless Health Institute, more than 100 million people in the US are living with at least one chronic condition. Chronic diseases make up about 75 percent of our healthcare system’s $2.3 trillion in costs. Monitoring and management applications can play a crucial role in helping those with chronic diseases engage with tools that can help them to do an even better job of managing their own health condition.
The Centers for Disease Control predicts one third of American adults will develop diabetes by 2050. That’s an incredible metric. Such a large group of patients would certainly need to be able to self-manage.
In our most recent apps report: The Fastest Growing and Most Successful Health & Medical Apps, we defined chronic condition management apps as those that help users better manage persistent health issues, including everything from diabetes, hypertension and asthma to migraines, arthritis or chronic pain. These apps may include care plans, trackers and/or reference materials.
Of the more than 200 new apps chronic condition management apps that launched between February and September 2010 more than 53 percent were diabetes management related. Hypertension apps for blood pressure tracking and management made up the biggest group.
Apple maintains a running list of the top 1000 apps in each of its AppStore categories, which includes Health & Fitness as well as Medical. As part of our research, we subcategorized these lists of 1000 apps to better understand which types of apps were succeeding. The ten apps below were the chronic condition management apps with the highest ranking in Apple's Top 1000 for Health & Fitness along with their original rankings.
77. GoMeals developed by Sanofi Aventis
164. GlucoseBuddy developed by oneAppOneCause
193. Allergy Alert developed by SDI Health
232. Livestrong developed by Demand Media
323. WaveSense Diabetes Manager developed by Agamatrix
331. Diabetes Log developed by Distal Thoughts
432. Diabetes Companion developed by dLife
441. Diabetes Health Mobile developed by Diabetes Health
471. hCG Diet app developed by CodeQ
537. BloodPressure+Pulse Grapher Lite developed by Michael Heinz
As the rankings illustrate, there are very few chronic condition management apps in the Top 1000 for Health & Fitness. There were only 10 such apps within the Top 537.