Digital strategy in healthcare marketing

This article is part of a series of articles on digital strategy in healthcare marketing. Read more.

At a glance

Even though app creators are well aware of the difference technology can make in healthcare outcomes, most are created with the interests of the creator in mind, minimising their potential impact. Healthcare app developers need to realise that their success depends on changing behaviours, so they need to reorient app development around users.

Why it matters

Data shows that most healthcare apps are not working for patients. Fewer than ten percent are still in daily use after 90 days, and 75% are abandoned after less than a week.


  • Healthcare apps largely lack validation and regulation, contributing to the hurdles involved in developing an app ecosystem that delivers on its promise.
  • To realise the healthcare app opportunity, creators must deliver services in ways that are accessible to the target audience and ensure there is a clear objective for changing behaviour. They must also base their services on scientifically-proven approaches and data.
  • By analysing success through Patient Activation Level thinking from the King’s Fund, it becomes clear that patients who are confident that they understand how to get the best from their healthcare will achieve better outcomes.
  • Healthcare developers also need to account for a broad range of health literacy, as the target’s ability to access, understand and act upon health information can vary broadly.

Where to start