By Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst

Does Facebook's pivot towards discrete single-function apps have implications for healthcare app developers The social giant's announcement that it will discontinue support for the chat function in its flagship product  a prelude to a planned unbundling was doubtless motivated, in part, by a need to establish new revenue streams and fend off the pack of one-trick apps nipping at its heels. But it also reflects, in the words of one VC quoted by Wired, a vision of a mobile-centric world in which we see simple, clear, snackable experiences winning.

That may prove true, but many of the most popular health and fitness apps boast an array of features, and while pharma apps tend to be narrower in their functionality so far, there are those that offer a pretty rich menu of options (Janssen's Care4Today and Sanofi's pioneering GoMeals come to mind). The rule, if there is one, seems to be this: give consumers something useful that they can't find elsewhere.

Tougher than it sounds, given the cluttered state of app offerings for many conditions. But figuring it out may be rewarding, because apps from pharma are highly influential at all points in the care journey, as we learned in our most recent ePharma Consumer® report. Furthermore, though adoption is modest, these apps are disproportionately used by patients who have trouble staying adherent exactly the patients that need them most.

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