Why Do Most mHealth Apps Fail?

Steelkiwi Inc.
  • Date Published
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In this article, you will find the main reasons why do most mHealth apps fail

Nobody wants their apps to fail. Yet, no one is safe from it. As stated by IQVIA there were more than 318,000 mHealth apps available on the app stores in 2017. Unfortunately, a good deal of them did not gain favor with their users. According to the Research2Guidance study the majority of healthcare apps did not achieve sufficient annual downloading:

It is no wonder why some may look for how to build an effective medical mobile app or how to design a great medical app. Still, wouldn’t it be better to learn from others mistakes? The best thing to solve the problem is to prevent it.

Why do so many mHealth apps fail to meet the needs of the customer? There can be many reasons for that. The most common shortcomings include:

  • failing to solve a particular problem;
  • poor attention to UI/UX;
  • lack of/no expert involvement;
  • security holes.

Failing to solve a particular problem

The reason people decide to download an mHealth app is the necessity to serve their need. They are vulnerable and look for the answers to their medical issues. If an app fails to do what users require it for, they will not use it.

An app should be goal-oriented. It is essential to be aware of what is to be achieved with it. To make sure, one is ought to research the market and find out audience demands. It is not less important to examine the existing competition and find gaps in the market to figure out how to be a perfect fit thereafter.

Remember, if an app does not provide users with a real benefit, it is worth nothing.

Poor attention to UI/UX

Getting users to download your app is different from keeping them engaged in it. Good user interface and user experience are vital for each app. Their importance cannot be overemphasized. They both contribute to increasing customer contentment which is essential to winning the consumers.

Source: https://medium.com

UX includes a bunch of principles. The core ones are:

Source: https://basicux.com 


If you want your app to be successful, it should be attractive. First impression is a crucial point here. As reported in the survey held at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, one needs two tenth of a second to form the first impression of an app and it takes another 2.6 seconds to strengthen it.

To be appealing an app should not contain:

  • Inadequate colors;
  • Unrelated and meaningless images;
  • Too many navigation links;
  • Unclear and unreadable text;
  • Weird positioning of the text and images;
  • Improper use of white space;
  • Irrelevant grouping.


“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect”

Tim Berners-Lee

Your app should be accessible and satisfying to as many people as possible. This means that an app should include:

  • Readable and distinct interface;
  • Multiple language settings;
  • An option to adjust the text size, color, brightness etc. 

Furthermore, it is ought to be easy to use for people with various disabilities, e.g. visual, hearing, motor, cognitive. Thus, it would be great if an app had a voiceover, voice input, subtitles, accessibility labels, accessibility guide etc.


Simplicity is the secret ingredient for success. Unnecessary complexity may result in losing consumers. While developing an app, one should not depend on a tech-savvy person, but an average user. 

There should not be any difficulty with:

  • understanding how to use an app;
  • accessing features;
  • entering data.


The other decisive point is a balance between useful features and an intuitive interface. An app should be easy to learn and pleasure to use. Otherwise, it might end up with losing consumer trust.

The user should be able to handle with the app based on the experience and gut feeling, but no additional learning.


“Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don’t have to worry about what will happen. Instead, they know what will happen based on earlier experience”

Jakob Nielsen

Consistency is one of the elements that cannot be violated. It should be preserved throughout the whole product for the users to feel a sense of continuity.

Each part of an app should be integrated with the entire product. The lack of consistency may make your app look chaotic and perplexing. 

If an app is consistent:

  • users learn faster how to use it;
  • it removes confusion;
  • it saves time and money when developing an app.

Lack of/no expert involvement 

One of the most dangerous shortcomings of a healthcare app is its lack of clinical involvement. Some of the healthcare apps does not obtain authentic details. They provide their users with not evidence-based content or misinformation which may result in becoming a serious source of danger.

As mentioned by Research2Guidance in 2016 only 42 % of app developers had HCPs on the team, 43 % collaborated with them and 11 % did not work with medical professionals at all.

Source: Research2Guidance

To reduce potential damage one should seek the guidance of doctors while developing such kind of an app. 

Security holes

Data security and privacy are extremely significant aspects. Poor attention to them may cause crucial consequences. 

There are some regulations regarding privacy and security in mHealth one must adhere to:

Speaking about the safety concerns from a technological point of view, there are several useful strategies on how to build a secure medical app:

  • Research legislative regulations on data protection to meet all the standards.
  • Implement data encryption.
  • Authenticate users properly.
  • Test at a development stage.
  • Prevent security threats by preparing for them in advance.
  • Turn to experts for long-term support.

Developing a successful mHealth app is possible!

Though creating an excellent healthcare app is a challenge, it is achievable. There is no single approach to accomplish it. There are, however, some mistakes one should eliminate in order to succeed.

To develop a successful mHealth app, it is important to:

  • be a perfect fit for the market offering the best way to solve a particular problem;
  • pay special attention to UI and UX;
  • provide users with appropriate information by working with medical professionals;
  • provide policies to ensure healthcare app security.