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What You Need to Know to Enter the Hot Health and Fitness App Category Here are the essentials you need if you're interested in building a product in this space.

By Rahul Varshneya Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mobile healthcare and fitness tracking startups are all the rage. 2014 lit the spark in this arena and 2015 is expected to set the stage on fire.

It helps that Apple Health and Google Fit offer a ready platform for mobile-first health entrepreneurs to tap into an existing ecosystem of smartphone users. Data and analysis for fitness and certain aspects of health formerly were only monitored by clinics or labs. Now, these tests and analyses are brought closer and technology is fast integrating with the daily life of the common person.

Related: Jump Into the Hot Health-Care Sector With These 10 Businesses

While roadblocks are inevitable in the healthcare and fitness app entrepreneur's path, the journey can be made smoother if you ensure your mobile app has the following essentials covered during the production phase.

1. User experience

Keeping it simple and building an app that offers the core value proposition will help your users to navigate through the app easily. Once they're hooked, you can study their behavior and then build additional features.

2. Building trust

Users shouldn't have to worry about privacy issues or spam. Do not collect any more information than necessary for the user's experience. If you can just get by with a name and email address, then do not ask for any more details.

3. Comply

Not all health and fitness mobile apps are HIPAA-compliant, and they needn't be. But before you start out, assess whether your app should be compliant. If your app records and shares patient data or information with a covered entity in any way, then it must be HIPAA-compliant.

4. Provide answers

The most effective health and fitness mobile apps are those that provide an answer to the question, "what does this do for me," instead of telling the user, "here is what you need to do."

While these tips are essential, you should be able to take advantage of the opportunity that health and fitness apps offer with a little bit of research into what people are looking for in such apps.

Related: Under Armour Rides High With Big-Ticket Fitness App Acquisitions

App testing company Applause analyzed 3.3 million app store ratings and reviews for popular diet and exercise apps with scores ranging from 0 to 100, according to MarketWatch.

The research found that users are two and a half times more positive toward diet and fitness apps than most popular retail, media or travel apps. And a look at some of the ratings and other insights on apps can provide a clue into what app users find valuable.

Based on these insights, if your app were to focus on either or a mix of these, you're setting yourself on the path to success.

  1. Monitor nutrition. Build a robust app that provides users all the information they need without going to other sources.
  2. Monitor exercise. Provides users with the ability to measure their routes, speed and heart rate information, as well as follow their progress when they exercise.
  3. Involve the community. Build the extra push of motivation some need by turning it into a friendly competition between friends, coworkers or even against your own personal goals to win prizes.
  4. Build smart algorithms. In a recent Wired article, Nike's chief scientist considered commonly collected biometrics -- steps, temperature and blood oxygen levels -- as irrelevant to athletic performance. Instead, he promoted the importance of smart algorithms for going beyond that and delving into actually analyzing human performance.
  5. A reason to go social. Give your users reasons to push your app's updates onto their social networks. People love vanity and showcasing how far they ran or how many calories they burned.
  6. Tap the untapped. The segments that are ignored are the old and the chronically ill. These are people who could benefit the most from technology. Figure out how you can tap this largely untapped market.

Building a health and fitness mobile app is similar to building an app in any other category. It requires an understanding of what the customer wants and building an app that solves their problems.

Related: Apple's Health Tech Takes Early Lead Among Top Hospitals

Rahul Varshneya

Co-founder at Arkenea

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder of Arkenea, an award-winning web and mobile app development agency.

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