The offering will provide comms counsel to healthcare and technology companies looking to help people manage health conditions via their mobile phones.
The new division, which launches in January, will comprise a team of four led by the agency’s current corporate and technology head Emma Sinden. It will offer services including stakeholder mapping, campaign development and product launches.
Sinden said: ‘We are responding to a growing need in the market for combined technology and healthcare experience. More technology and telecoms firms are expanding into this space and pharmaceutical companies are looking at how they use technology to better communicate with stakeholders and other influencers.’
She said the focus of apps had been on calorie counting or exercise tracking, but there has been a shift away from lifestyle towards health management for sufferers of long-term conditions.
The global m-health market is set to jump in value to £7.3bn by 2018, a surge of 39 per cent from 2011 figures, according to GlobalData.
An example of mobile, technology and healthcare firms partnering is Vodafone, IBM and Novartis, which launched an SMS campaign for health workers to monitor supplies of anti-malaria drugs in 2010.
Ruder Finn’s move comes as fresh data it commissioned from YouGov found that a fifth of people were likely to use mobile technology to manage their health. The most desired app was one that could make a GP appointment – chosen by 42 per cent of respondents.