People are using technology and apps to streamline and improve health in all areas. Some apps measure steps and sleep, whilst others offer meditation and relaxation. Plus there are many others. These apps can be used to support and empower employees to manage their own health—something crucial as wellbeing moves up the business agenda.

Business Opportunity

The facts and figures regarding the increase in apps and wearable technology is astounding since COVID-19.

Here are the market statistics:

  • Global fitness apps were valued at £8.9 billion in 2020 and projected to reach £24.2 billion by 2028.
  • Health and fitness apps worldwide are expected to reach 32 billion by 2025.

Wellbeing programs ideally suited for technological input include a variety of activities, such as:

  • Health screening: Helps identify any health problems early on, so that they can be treated before they become serious, for example, blood pressure screening or cholesterol testing.
  • Education: Teaching healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
  • Support groups: These can provide people with a safe space to talk about their challenges and get support from others who are going through the same thing. Today, the groups can meet online.
  • Stress management: This can help people learn how to cope with stress healthily and there are many apps for meditation, relaxation and mindfulness.

Wellbeing apps use is on the increase and competition is fierce. Apps help people feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. They can also help people live longer, healthier lives.

Why Apps

We can use apps and wearable technology for a variety of health and fitness purposes, including:

  • Tracking physical activity
  • Monitoring heart rate and other vital signs
  • Measuring sleep quality
  • Providing motivation and support
  • Delivering educational content
  • Connecting with healthcare providers

The popularity of an app varies depending on location and activity, but three of the most successful are:

  1. Headspace: offering guided meditation and mindfulness exercises to promote mental well-being and stress reduction.
  2. Calm: Like Headspace, Calm is a meditation and sleep app that provides relaxation techniques, sleep stories, and soothing music.
  3. Fitbit: Fitbit offers a range of wearable devices that track aspects of health, such as physical activity, sleep, heart rate, and more. The accompanying app allows users to monitor and manage their health data.

So, if you love technology, why not design your own App?

Resources

Maybe you have the health knowledge and a brilliant idea for an app, but not the capability to build one. The first thing to consider is cost, and it is not cheap.

If you want to make a health app, cost is an important to factor in research before you start the development process as there are some eye-watering costs. On average, a basic healthcare app can cost between $50,000 to $100,000, while a more complex app can cost upwards of $300,000 or more.

Process

You can build a health app yourself without coding knowledge but consider:

  • The complexity of the app: The more complex, the more time and resources it will take to develop.
  • The technology used will affect cost. For example, developing an app for both iOS and Android will cost more than developing for just one platform.
  • The design and user experience: A well-designed app with a great user experience will cost more than a basic app with a simple user interface.
  • The post-launch services required: The post-launch services of maintenance and support, can also affect the cost. These services can be expensive, especially if the app is complex or has a large user base.

Ways to Reduce Costs

Here are some tips for reducing the cost of developing a health app:

  • Use a ready-made platform: There are several ready-made platforms that can develop health apps. These platforms reduce the cost of development by providing pre-built features and functionality.
  • Outsource the development: Outsource the development to a third-party developer to reduce cost; but choose a reputable developer who has experience in developing health apps.
  • Use open-source software: There are open-source (free) online software programmes to use to reduce the cost of development by providing free or low-cost software.
  • Access the developing Ai programmes which have coding ability.

Lucrivity

Apps usually make money by being ‘monetised,’ which means they use different ways of tempting someone to part with their money.

Here are 14 common ways to monetise your app:

  1. Subscriptions: This is a common way to monetise health apps. Users pay a monthly or annual fee to access the app’s features.
  2. Onetime purchases: Users pay a fee to unlock a particular feature or content.
  3. In-app ads: This is a less common but can be effective. Users see ads while using the app, and the app developer earns money from the ads.
  4. Premium content: This is content in the app which you have to pay for. This could include additional features, exercises, or measuring and recording activity
  5. Virtual goods: This is content that has no real-world value, but that users can purchase to enhance their experience with the app. This could include avatars, clothes, or accessories.
  6. Donations: Ask for donations to support development of the app. Donations are typically made through a third-party service, such as PayPal or Stripe.
  7. Affiliate marketing: This is a way to earn money by promoting other products or services through your app. When a user clicks on an affiliate link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
  8. Freemium model: This is a model where the app is free to download, but users must pay for premium features. This is a popular model for health apps, as it allows users to try the app before they commit to paying for it.
  9. Free trial: This is a common way to promote health apps. Users can download the app for free and try it out for a limited period. If they like the app, they then choose to subscribe or purchase a premium feature.
  10. Bundled payments: This is a way to offer users a discount if they purchase multiple features or content at the same time. This can be a good way to encourage users to pay for premium features.
  11. Group discounts: This is a way to offer users a discount if they purchase a premium feature for a group of people. This can be a good way for businesses to subsidise a wellbeing programme.
  12. Referral bonuses: This is a way to reward users for referring the app to their friends. When a user refers a friend who signs up for the app, the referring user earns a bonus.
  13. Sweepstakes and contests: This is a way to engage users and promote the app. Users can enter sweepstakes or contests to win prizes, such as free subscriptions or premium content.
  14. Donation drives: This is a way to raise money for a charity or cause. Users can donate money through the app, and the app developer will then donate the money to the charity or cause.

The best way to monetise your health app will depend on the specific features, your target audience, and content of your app.

How to Build a Health App

Here are the 20 steps you need to take to develop a health app and make it a success:

  1. Come up with a great idea. Think about the problem you want to resolve with your app? What need does it fill? What makes your app unique?
  2. Do market research. Who is your target audience? What are their problems? What other apps are out there that solve the same problem?
  3. Create a business plan to set out your strategy.
  4. If you’re not a developer yourself, you’ll need to hire someone to build your app. Or you can use a no-code app builder. These platforms allow you to create apps without having to write any code. Some popular no-code app builders to Google for more information include Appy Pie, Bubble, and Wix. Ai platforms also write coding for apps.
  5. Design the app. This includes the user interface (UI) and the ease of use for the participant.
  6. Develop the app. This is where you or the developer brings your app to life.
  7. Test the app. This is important to make sure the app works properly and meets the needs of your target audience.
  8. Get feedback. Once you have a working prototype, get feedback from users to see what they think.
  9. Use the feedback you get to improve the app.
  10. Launch the app. This is when you make your app available to users.
  11. Market the app. Let people know about your app and why they should use it.
  12. Update the app. As you learn more about your users and their needs, you’ll need to update the app to keep it fresh.
  13. Monetise the app by charging users a fee, sell advertising, or offer in-app purchases.
  14. Provide customer support. Users will have questions and problems with your app. Make sure you have a way to provide them with support.
  15. Track your analytic and usage of the app. This will help you understand how people are using your app and what features they’re using the most.
  16. Make improvements. Monitor the feedback data you get from your app to make improvements to your app.
  17. Stay up to date with the latest trends. The mobile health app market is constantly growing. Make sure you’re staying up to date with the latest trends so you can keep your app competitive.
  18. Be patient. It takes time to build a successful health app. Don’t expect to become an overnight success.
  19. There will be challenges along the way. Don’t give up on your dream of creating a successful health app.
  20. Have fun! Developing a health app can be a lot of work, but it should also be fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, it will be hard to stick with it.

Also:

  • Start small. Don’t build a complex app with all the bells and whistles right away. Start with a simple app that has the core features you need. You can always add more features later, as your app grows in popularity
  • Use free or low-cost resources. There are lots of free or low-cost resources available to help you build your app. For example, you can use free stock images and music, and you can find free or low-cost hosting and domain names
  • Get help from the community. There are many online communities where you can get help with building your app. These will give you support, advice, and feedback
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck—start with tech savvy friends and family and as things become more complicated, consider a professional
  • Ai programmes are here to write the coding for you now

Potential Issues

There are several factors to stop your apps success. These include:

  • Lack of user engagement: If the app is not engaging, users will not be motivated to use it. This may be because of poor design of the app, the content of the messages, or the way the campaign is marketed.
  • Privacy concerns: Some people may be reluctant to use a wellbeing app that collects personal data. This is especially true if they are not sure how their data will be used or who will have access to it.
  • Cost: If the app is not free to use, some people may not afford it.
  • Technological barriers: Some people may not have the technological skills or devices needed to use the app such as those who dislike technology or don’t have signal (rural areas).
  • Lack of support: If the app is not properly supported, users may not get help when they need it and give up on it.
  • Marketing: the app must be promoted through multiple channels, such as social media, email, and in-store displays.

Any app needs to be engaging, secure, affordable, accessible, and well-supported. If these factors are not considered, the app is less likely to be successful. But if you take all the factors into consideration for your groundbreaking idea, you could have a massive hit on your hands.

Build your health app today!

Further information

front cover of new book by jane coombs - the ambitious nurse
  • Go to Live Well (bit.ly/3Bs1tru) from the NHS for health information and ideas that are reliable and free
  • You may also be interested to research a selection of mental health apps and tools in the NHS Digital Apps Library
  • One way to offset the cost and is to consider crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter (bit.ly/3MKWNS2), or Patreon (bit.ly/3YbZZf6) to attract investment
  • For a step-by-step guide on making an app, go to: Appypie (bit.ly/3rR9MeF)
  • See also my latest book: The Ambitious Nurse due for release in September 2023 (on Amazon)with other ideas for making money and being successful