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UK demand for mental health apps soars 566% since 2014

Published on 13/06/18 at 11:19am

A new report from communications and research agencies GK Strategy and onefourzero has revealed the massive extent to which consumer demand for mental health apps has increased in recent years, rising by 566% since 2014.

It is estimated that around 72% of patients use the internet to learn more about a condition and discover available treatment. This makes search engine volumes a rich mine of data in this field, and the report’s researchers pieced together their findings through the analysis of Google search volumes stretching back to April 2014, including more than 34,000 posts on social media.

It was determined that the most significant factor in this growth is a desire for convenience, and is mentioned in a quarter of all conversations on the topic of health apps. Other factors include the advancement of technology and a much wider recognition of mental health. Because of this rise in demand, the report asserts, developers and providers of health technology face increased scrutiny from GPs, NHS trusts and regulators, and have a responsibility to deliver on the key issues of patient safety, compliance and transparency.

The report draws attention to the mounting pressure on the NHS to maintain quality of service in the face of ageing populations and funding cuts, suggesting these could be contributing factors to the increase.

“The NHS is facing increased pressures on funding and resources. The explosion in the market for innovative solutions to tackle simple health concerns is welcome,” remarked Rebecca Lury, Managing Director and Head of Health at GK Strategy. “This is clearly a focus of the UK Government, with commitments made around expanding future digital services, but companies will need to consider how best to operate in this new market. Companies looking to break into, or grow their position, in this market, should engage with government early to build their reputation, and demonstrate their benefit to the healthcare system, as well as the wider UK economy. This will help to mitigate the growing concerns about operators’ practices in the market, setting responsible companies up as the foundations for a strong innovative healthcare market in the future.”

Matt Fellows

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