Everyone wants to be in the App Store.

There are over 500,000 iPhone apps in the Apple App Store and the average user has approximately 65 applications. While at first the idea of telling your customer/patient base that your app can be downloaded in the App Store was prestigious and technologically advanced, it is almost expected in this age where there is an app for just about anything and everything.

Purpose.

An overwhelming majority of iPhone apps downloaded in the App Store are opened once and forgotten about. This can be quite alarming to those wishing to invest significantly in the mobile arena.  Analytics point to far less than 20% of all apps downloaded stay on the device and even less are used regularly. Why are people not using these apps? It comes down to a few simple questions. What does the app do? Why do I need it on my phone? Why do I care about the information included?

Why people will use an app:

      • Up-to-date information that the user cares about.
      • Provides a feature/use that can be used on a daily basis.
      • User Interface is easy to use and looks nice.
      • Does not crash or contain errors.

Here are a few reasons why an app will get deleted or remain unused:

      • I can get this information quicker and on-demand on Google.
      • It’s not up-to-date.
      • Poor interface design or user experience is lacking.
      • Doesn’t function properly.
      • I don’t care about the information in the app.
      • There is no purpose behind the app… Why should it take up a place on my phone?

mHealth Opportunities

“mHealth” is a buzzword in the telehealth industry right now and there are a lot of businesses and organizations jumping at the industry to get a piece of it… probably you as well? Mobile health applications can include anything from a simple symptom diagnosis app to systems with integrated devices and physician involvement.

Using an application to directly interact with patients is a great way to enhance service, make the patient feel more involved in their healthcare and add to your brand’s value.

While developing a solution can be quite expensive and time consuming, there are several solutions that are readily available for integration and branding. If one of these solutions fits your needs, you may not need an app to be developed from scratch.

 

Cost & Time Commitment

The cost of making an app depends on several factors that include complexity, customization  and how you’d like to get it developed.

Complexity & Customization

Apps can range in complexity from simple to overwhelming. If you simply want an app that displays basic information from the web, then you’re not looking at a huge time or cost commitment. Simple projects range from $3000-$8000 and can include small business apps or generic “about us” apps that have minor purpose.

Larger, enterprise or highly-customized apps that users interact with more tend to cost more money and take more time to develop. One example is the Obama 2008 app that cost in the range of $50,000 – $150,000 to develop. Apps with customized user interfaces are well thought out and take more time on the planning and design phases of the app.

    • Simple Apps: $3000-$8000
      • Small Business/Organizations
      • Single Function
      • No true custom data-sync with server
      • Simplistic but custom User Interface
    • Moderately Complex Apps: $50,000-$150,000
      • Obama 2008 App
      • Enterprise Apps
      • Custom backend
      • Custom User Interface
      • Complex, Startup Company Apps

The more data you want, the more customization you want, the more it is going to cost.

Where & How?

 Internal vs. external vs. freelancer vs. agency… it really just depends on your needs. Smaller agencies and freelancers will be much cheaper but large agencies are more able to develop highly customized and tailored apps for your specific needs, whether mHealth or business related.

 

Mobile App Best Practices

Some quick tips when developing or creating a mobile application. A few things to make sure look/work okay…

  1. Keep it unique and useful.
  2. User interface design/experience is important.
  3. Keep it up-to-date.
  4. Test it first. Make sure it works correctly.

 

To sum things up, apps are a fantastic, relatively-new way to communicate with patients and/or customers. They are utilized best if there is a specific purpose to the app and it is well thought-out and planned. Apps are not as simple to create and launch as websites, but if the app fits the user’s need and is a solution to one of your organization’s goals – the time/cost commitment may be worth it.