Report Finds Most Health Insurers Have Released Few Mobile Apps

March 19, 2015 in News

More than 70% of health insurers have published just one or two mobile applications, and of those companies, 67% have had fewer than 100,000 downloads, according to a new report by Research2Guidance, MobiHealthNews reports.

Details of Report

For the report, researchers classified 79 insurers based on the number of mobile apps they offer and the number of times those apps have been downloaded. Insurers were sorted into one of four categories:

  • Active — those with an above-average number of apps and downloads;
  • Hesitant — those with a below-average number of apps and downloads;
  • Initial success — those with a below-average number of apps but an above-average number of downloads; and
  • Still trying — those with an above-average number of apps but a below-average number of downloads (Comstock, MobiHealthNews, 3/18).

Findings

The researchers found that:

  • 9% of insurers fell into the active category;
  • 77% of insurers fell into the hesitant category;
  • 6% of insurers fell into the initial success category; and
  • 8% of insurers fell into the still trying category (Research2Guidance graph, 2015).

For example, Aetna and Humana were both labeled active, while Blue Shield of California was labeled hesitant.

In a blog post, Research2Guidance analyst Samuel Aylett wrote, “Aetna is the one health insurance company that stands out. Having published 28 apps across both iOS and Android, Aetna has achieved more than 14 million downloads, significantly more than any other health insurance company.”

Aylett wrote that 85% of Aetna’s downloads were for the iTriage app. He added that it is not “uncommon” for insurers with many downloads to have a single app driving their numbers. 

In addition, Aylett noted that iTriage was not built in-house but rather by Healthagen, a startup that Aetna acquired. He said insurer-built apps often fail to gain traction because they do not use certain best practices, such as prioritizing:

  • Automated input;
  • Attractive design;
  • Integration into current health IT infrastructure;
  • Remote consultation;
  • Secure use of data; and
  • Usability (MobiHealthNews, 3/18).
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