What Should Employers Look for In Mobile Health Apps?
The emergence of mobile health apps is giving consumers unprecedented ways of engaging in their health and well-being. More than 165,000 apps are currently available, with the majority focused on diet and fitness. Apps are also incredibly popular; almost 60% of consumers have downloaded at least one health app, and of those, a third use one every day.
Employers can positively impact workforce health by recommending safe, effective, secure and user-friendly apps to employees. More than half of employers already offer mobile health apps to employees, and 75% plan do so in the next three years. Early results show that apps may encourage smarter prescription drug use, increase savings and improve employee satisfaction.
The sheer number of apps available today can make the selection process an overwhelming experience. Employers should consider these criteria when evaluating an app:
Checklist for Selecting an App
- Perform a diagnostics test on your population data by identifying the top health risks among your employees and their dependents.
- Identify condition-specific apps based on your population’s needs through app store searches, reviewing academic studies, or working with your benefit consultants.
- Check the app’s ratings as consumer ratings provide valuable insight about the purpose of the app and whether it performs as expected, is easy to use and has adequate functionality.
- Gather clinical evidence that clearly states the app is evidence-based and is clinically appropriate.
- Ensure compliance with your company’s security and privacy protocols by checking with your in-house counsel and data team to test for the possibility of data breaches or unsecure sharing of data.
- Give it a test drive with a focus group of employees to make sure the app works as expected.
- Check safety features of the app to make sure it reacts appropriately when the user enters data that suggests she or he is in danger.
We Found an App! Now What?
- Invest in an engagement strategy to increase adoption of the app.
- Highlight key features in benefit communications.
- Sustain engagement by leveraging existing features in the app that will keep consumers activated.
Members can access the complete checklist, including in-depth information on the benefits of mobile apps, industry concerns, future outlook of apps and app examples, in Selecting and Recommending Mobile Health Apps.