The COVID-19 pandemic has marked an unprecedented instance in which technology has become the best ally to monitor personal health and to promote wellness.
Social distancing regulations triggered a peek in the use of mobile health (mHealth) apps. People are choosing virtual alternatives for exercising at home, attending medical check-ups, and even managing stress levels, consequences of the particular moment humanity is going through.
According to the last mHealth Economics report, released by Research2Guidance, in 2017 there were around 325,000 apps in the Google Play and iTunes platforms. 65% of these focused on well-being (exercise, healthy lifestyle, stress control, dieting, and nutrition), 9% were dedicated to specific diseases, pregnancy-related apps represented 7%, and the other 6% consisted of apps focused on treatment adherence or medication alarm reminders.
Two years later, in 2019, the global mHealth market was valued at $46 billion, according to a report published by Allied Market Research. Moreover, this study forecasts the mobile health industry’s value at $230 billion by 2027.
But how can businesses make the most out of it? Gerardo Chaverri, Mobile Unit Manager at Avantica, strongly believes in the personalization of experiences as the differentiating factor, allowing companies to stand out among the vast number of applications available on app stores.
The specialist highlights how wearable devices, such as smartwatches, fueled people’s interest in wellness and exercise. These electronic devices allow a wide range of possibilities, from sleep monitoring, fitness metrics control, and health indicator tracking.
“People are more concerned about their health in times of crisis and are beginning to purchase devices to store information in the Cloud, to keep track of themselves, or watch their very own trends. For example, this data allows patients to keep a better record of their health and improve medical diagnosis via telehealth appointments”, explains Chaverri.
Although there was a wide range of available apps before COVID-19, the pandemic has boosted the mHealth market, and nowadays, apps that focused on user experience from the beginning are taking advantage of this momentum.
“The use of these apps was not a priority before, but now health and wellness companies have realized how necessary it is. For example, gyms only used digital channels for marketing,” says Chaverri.
In order to overcome these crucial times, health and wellness businesses started noticing the importance of migrating to digital or adopting mixed models due to social distancing regulations,. Nevertheless, it is no longer enough to offer traditional services, such as video training routines.
“As of today, the challenge is how to offer customized and interactive services, to provide different environments through sounds and visualization experiences, through the incorporation of sensors and augmented reality technologies,” highlights Avantica’s mobile specialist.