People are becoming more conscious about their health. It’s why fitness apps are booming and both Apple and Google are looking to get into the health game. But apps that try to go beyond simple calorie counting and movement tracking often struggle to gain traction with users.
Although people are open to sharing how many steps they’ve taken or how much they weigh, they’re more hesitant to share their personal medical details.
Here are some data-related fears consumers often have with healthcare apps:
- Personal medical information could get leaked. Revealing users’ medical information could be embarrassing and life shattering.
- Companies could use the data for marketing purposes. Imagine your spam getting smarter about your personal health details. Companies are already pinpointing viewers’ interests, and revealing this information could expose you to targeted email spam and calls tailored to your health issues. Members of Congress have already discussed legislation that would forbid medical apps from selling personal data without the user’s consent.
- Unqualified employees could access their information. Patients feel comfortable divulging medical information to a doctor, but they probably wouldn’t want the IT guy who supports the app to see and read their information.
There are many reasons people might hesitate to use your app. But by identifying potential concerns and considering them as you develop and market your app, you can quell their fears and ensure the long-term success of your medical app.
Increase User Confidence in Your Healthcare App
One of the biggest obstacles for new healthcare companies isn’t convincing users that their apps are useful; it’s assuring them their information will be safe. If your app is struggling to gain traction despite its obvious benefits, consider these steps to increase consumer confidence and make your app stand out in the crowded marketplace:
- Focus on reputation. If potential users haven’t heard of your company or don’t immediately associate it with healthcare, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. A trusted name can mean the difference between failure and success.If your company is in its infancy, consider aiming for partnerships or licensing agreements with well-known healthcare companies such as Kaiser Permanente, New York Presbyterian Hospital, or another major hospital or organization. This can lend your app instant credibility, and with a big name behind it, people will be more likely to hear about it.Other tech sectors have already begun developing these types of partnerships. Absolute Software licensed LoJack’s name and used that brand’s weight to market its own laptop-theft retrieval software. The result was a name people trusted with top software to back it up.
- Tout security and confidentiality. Only qualified individuals should view user information, and this data should be heavily encrypted. Apps that allow users to talk directly with medical professionals or make personal data available to them can only work if users know that each virtual session is as confidential as a doctor’s visit. Assure users that your company is going above and beyond to ensure the safety and confidentiality of their data.If you take the HIPAA regulations and security requirements seriously during your design phase, you’re proactively building security into your app and can proudly communicate that to your audience and users. In addition, taking these proactive measures could help you weather any political storms and proposed legislation that is currently being initiated by the Senate.
- Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Some medical apps have promised to cure insomnia, and others say they can measure blood pressure without the help of a cuff. If your app purports to help treat a disease or measure vital statistics, make sure you can back up that claim. Getting FDA approval is the best step to secure users’ trust.
People want to be in control of their health, and they need the latest technology to do it. With the right security protocols in place and a strong reputation behind it, your app has the potential to be the next big thing. Users likely know the benefits your healthcare app offers, so your job is to keep their data safe and communicate these efforts to break down potential barriers.
Tim Maliyil is the CEO and data security architect for AlertBoot. AlertBoot protects customers from data breaches that damage their credibility, reputation, and business. The company’s managed full disk encryption, email encryption, and mobile security services deploy within minutes to customers’ PCs, smartphones, and tablets, providing tremendous insight, visibility, and control.