The venerated Wills Eye Hospital has a great glaucoma app for patients called Glaucoma from Wills Eye. They built their glaucoma app over a two year period in conjunction with Drexel University’s iSchool and College of Engineering. Before releasing the glaucoma app, they did an internal study to see what key features patients would want.

50 participants were in the study and they were asked questions on key features they would want in the app. Some key findings from the study were the respondents answers when it came to mobile technology. Almost 70 percent of patients already had a smartphone or tablet. Nearly half the patients used their smartphones at some point to look up health information.

Out of all the conclusions — the price sensitivity for downloading a health app was the most interesting to me. While more than 70% of the patients were interested in downloading the Wills Eye Glaucoma app, only 25% of the patients would actually download the app if it was priced at just $3.00. I call this the “Angry birds” effect. The gaming section in filled with apps that are free or just $0.99. They can afford to do this since there are a significant number of individuals available to download these apps. For medical speciality apps to succeed financially (be able to at least pay for development costs), they need to charge much higher since the number of individuals that have the potential to actually use the app is significantly smaller. Unfortunately — even though patients find these types of medical apps useful — the barrier of price, which is similar to a cup of coffee at Starbucks, prevents this from happening.

Due to this price sensitivity, you have to wait for non-profits such as Wills Eye to actually create these apps. It doesn’t make sense for individual developers to make quality speciality apps such as this as they won’t be able to recoup the development costs. This could also explain the lack of Android availability for the Wills Eye Glaucoma app as well — unfortunate as while most physicians and medical professionals are on iOS, a significant patient population does have android phones.

The study by Wills Eye also asked patients about key features, such as a medication reminder and comprehensive multimedia videos — and they incorporated the responses into the final development of their app.

The following are key features from the Wills Eye Glaucoma app:

– Educational videos about glaucoma, how to use eye drops, benefits of glaucoma laser treatment, and surgery
– Tutorial on how to take a visual field examination
– Eye-drop reminder feature
– Appointment reminder feature
– Storage of medical information
– Tracking of eye pressure results

glaucoma app

Glaucoma from Wills Eye

iPhone, iPad Link
Android Link: Currently not available

Study Link: The Wills Eye Glaucoma App: Interest of Patients and Their Caregivers in a Smartphone-based and Tablet-based Glaucoma Application.