ROI on mobile health apps, ensuring a long-term strategy
The ROI on mobile health apps is critical to ensure the feasibility and long-term success of digital initiatives implemented by a healthcare institution. On a previous blog post titled “Patient engagement – How important are mHealth tools?” we pointed out the importance for healthcare institutions to embrace mHealth technology if they want to meet consumers’ requirements.
A recent survey revealed that:
- 80% of internet connected adults use some form of digital health technology
- 52% of consumers strongly agree they are responsible for their own health
- 40% of people who made an online search for health information acted on the results of their search in some way
- 92% of users agree that they should be the one controlling their health data
- 80% of users would share their health data with their care provider to get better care 
Furthermore, a report from a Swedish market research firm forecasts that by 2021, there will be 50.2 million patients monitored remotely, of which 22.9 million will be monitored remotely using their own smartphone. 
By boasting the consumers’ use of certified, clinically and technically validated mobile health apps, organisations could potentially have huge cost-savings in four particular areas.
- Addressing chronic illnesses: providing mobile health apps to people with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and mental illness, can be a great way continuously monitor the symptoms and spot any relapses.
- Avoiding non-urgent use of the ER: the use of mobile health apps enable continuous monitoring and early Therefore the trips to the emergency rooms can be prevented by scheduling preventive consultations based on the data collected by the health app
- Reducing preventable readmissions: A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic showed that there was a 40% decrease in readmission for patients with heart disease who used a specific health app. The RADMIS research project, which is being conducted in Denmark using the Monsenso mhealth solution, aims to reduce hospital readmissions of psychiatric patients by 50%
- Improving prescription adherence: A review in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimates that a lack of medication adherence causes nearly 125,000 deaths, 10% of hospitalisations and costs the US economy between $100 to $289 billion per year . Mobile health apps can be used to help improve adherence rates.
As more healthcare institutions embrace mHealth initiatives, it is important to take into consideration certain aspects to secure an optimal return on investment and ensure long-term success.
Prioritise strategically and secure C-suite support:
Aligning mobile health initiatives with an organisation’s business goals helps achieve ROI on mHealth solutions and better outcomes in the long run, and it also helps obtain the support of the organisation’s decision-makers. When an organisation’s mHealth initiatives are aligned with the overall strategy, this will also contribute to ensuring that the technology is rolled out on a large scale, instead of being implemented as small independent projects with a limited impact.
Furthermore, when selecting and implementing an mHealth initiative, it is critical to involve both employees (because they will be using the system daily) and management, since it is up to the latter to ensure all employees understand the process involved in the roll-out, allocate budget and/or time for special training, and make the necessary changes to the organisational processes.
Healthcare institutions that take a strategic approach by scaling internal resources across their organisations are more likely to make use of the transformational aspects of the technology. Instead of limiting mobile projects to a particular department, mobile health initiatives should be integrated throughout the entire organisation and become embraced as part of the organisation’s culture.
Utilise a mix of customised and off-the-shelf solutions:
Recognising when to select customised solutions and when to opt for existing mobile health solutions will help an organisation operate strategically and focus on business transformation.
According to a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value “More than 1,000 C-suite and mobile executives globally found that 62% of executives surveyed said their most successful mobile projects pay for themselves in less than 12 months – a considerably faster rate than the two-to-three years it takes for other technology projects. ”
 Rock Health: 80 percent of internet-connected adults use digital health tools. J. Comstock. MobiHealthNews. (2015, October 19)
 MHealth and Home Monitoring. Berg Insight. 2015.
 The cost of medication non-adherence. NACD. (2017, April 20)
 IBM Study: Four Ways to Achieve Maximum ROI in Enterprise Mobility. IBM News. (2017, April 22)