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Are There Too Many Healthcare Apps?

Anne Zieger wrote a blog article arguing that there are too many healthcare apps. It’s a very interesting take on the plethora of healthcare programs out there and the need for there to be programs that handle more than just one special condition or measurement. Anne argues that patients do not wish to open a whole lot of different apps to manage their health. Plus, she points out that the highest cost patients are often chronic patients whose health needs to be managed across multiple diseases and multiple data points.

While I find Anne’s analysis interesting, I’m prone to think that we actually need more healthcare programs. I say that because I don’t believe the current crop of health care apps are really moving the needle. Thus, we need more healthcare programs that really attack the ideal problems. Piggybacking Anne’s remarks, I’m not sure the current crop of apps are likely to scale to the sophistication of a patient, so we likely need new health care apps that use that complexity in mind.

The reality I’ve seen with most healthcare programs is that they lack ambition. Can you name a health care app that illustrates the vision to improve the health of a patient and reduces the price of health care as we know it? Those are big claims to make and so you do not see anyone claiming it. Claims aside, are there any businesses which are doing it?

My experience demonstrates that there are a couple of apps that at a very limited scope have the ability to enhance the health of the individual. Although, very very few of them have done the studies necessary to have the ability to claim that. They have plenty of anecdotal stories about how their app improved someone’s life. However, they don’t yet have the data to prove what they think their program is able to accomplish.

It's going to take a good deal more ambition from healthcare app developers to actually attach the issues that vex healthcare. Maintaining someone healthy is an extremely complicated issue and will not likely be solved with a 99 cent app.

If that is too big of a vision for you as an entrepreneur, how about you start with a simpler notion. Show me a program that changes people’s behavior. Let’s start with something that simple and scale from there. Most health apps aren’t even brave enough to take on that challenge. I’m not blaming them. It’s hard, but that’s what is going to make it so valuable.