How to Monetize Mobile Healthcare Apps

October 14, 2017
62 Shares 630 Views

The first rule of getting money from your app is to convince people to use it. They need to see the value, convenience and even entertainment to be persuaded to keep the app on their device and open it frequently.

Healthcare, fitness, and wellness apps have a great deal to learn from games. The primary drivers behind the motivation to use an app are the sense of achievement and the possibility to get a discount or even something for free. Of course, real results and an improved health state can also shoot an app to the top rated. The mobile app development company Iflexion also highlights that security is a must since these apps have access to sensitive medical records and personal health information.

Strategies to Generate Revenue in Healthcare Apps

Gamification

This is a tactic that has been successfully applied to a wide range of activities, from team management to university learning. It is highly adaptable to the app environment by creating a story and different achievement levels for users. The goals can be to follow the prescribed medication, stick to the exercise routine or attend all the scheduled visits. App owners can get creative with the rewards which can include free advice, discounts or bonus points that can be redeemed for prizes or services.

Giving patients the ability to set their own goals and follow through the progress makes them more involved and more likely to succeed.

Free Gifts

The most powerful word in marketing, “free,” also works in this context. It doesn’t have to be something too expensive or complicated, but rather something that brings value to the patient’s life. Think about free calculators such as an ideal weight or calorie count, free meal plans or a daily tip on lowering cardiovascular risks.

Also, the gifts can be extended to promotional branded objects if they reach certain levels in the app usage. A patient who logs his or her medication progress consistently deserves a free weekly medicine box to help them stay on track. If the patient is motivated to use the app, you can monetize it according to the following two strategies.

READ
How Secure Messaging Makes Patient Portals More Engaging?

Cross-selling and Promotions

To get revenue from a free app, you need to use it for product or service upgrade without making the patients feel pushed towards the selling point. Instead, it should feel like a recommendation to get additional benefits. A pregnant woman using a dedicated app could be invited for DNA tests to ensure the baby has no genetic diseases or get a discount voucher for vitamins adapted to the trimester she is in.

The key to creating good cross-selling or up-selling scenarios is to use the existing data about the patient and customize the offer. The term hyper-personalization has been used to describe this type of interaction. In fact, it is just the technological version of paying attention to your customer but on a different scale.

Data Gathering

In this world that is increasingly dominated by Big Data, having access to in-depth information about a particular category is a marketable asset. For example, if your app is tracking the lifestyle of former overweight patients who took a gastric bypass surgery, you have a set of data that could be valuable to fitness experts, pharmaceutical companies or life insurance businesses. Under the pledge of anonymity for the users, you could quickly monetize such data to interested parties.

Other Contact Points and Channels

The multichannel approach is winning, and the best apps extend to websites, e-mail contact, integration with wearables and even smart pills that send signals back to the app. A good idea inspired by retail is to enable geo-targeting strategies ethically and notify the user, if appropriate. In this game, anything goes as long as it makes the patient healthier and increases the revenues of the app’s owners.

Revenue Models for Apps

Most existing apps are based on a combination of income streams. However, there are at least six models to get revenue, each with their pros and cons.

  • Free with ads – Users access all features of the app, but see targeted ads at random intervals. Most users would not mind, but for a branded healthcare app this is not the best model. Also, two-thirds of users never click on the in-app adds.
  • Freemium- Some essential features of the app are available, but for a customized response, users need to upgrade by paying. Most users don’t mind adhering to this model if it brings real value and results.
  • Paid – All access is blocked until you decide to buy it. For a patient already paying for the medical service, this approach could seem greedy.
  • In-app purchases – Most of the app’s features are free, but you can buy upgrades or real-life services directly. Patients can pre-pay medical visits, purchase supplements or even get a refill on their prescriptions by such services.
  • Subscriptions – This is a subsidiary model either of the freemium or the paid models. The difference is that in the case of the subscription, the payment is recurrent. Healthcare or wellness facilities could use this model to ensure their patients are reminded to renew their subscription. A great app makes the process as easy as possible, also throwing in some rewards.
  • Sponsorship – This is one of the latest business models that is based on incentives to use the app. Points and levels can be converted to real rewards. In the healthcare industry, this is a potential goldmine since it makes people more interested in using the app and can help companies gather data, which is a currency.
READ
Ending the Opioid Crisis: Could Big Data Help?

The Future of App Monetization in Healthcare

Currently, patients mostly settle for free and basic features of  healthcare apps such as scheduling appointments, getting their prescriptions or using the app as a reminder. Creating a great medical app is challenging, since it should strike the right balance between advice, usability, motivation and avoiding self-medication or panic. But as long as the design is fun, engaging and offers genuine value measured in better health and improved mood, there are countless growth opportunities.