Most Americans ready for health wearables and apps

pharmafile | February 27, 2015 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing Makovsky/Kelton, Pulse of Online Health, US, app, apps, digital, wearables 

Americans are ready and willing to leverage health apps and wearable devices in order to improve their personal health according to a new study.

Findings from a Makovsky/Kelton ‘Pulse of Online Health’ survey that is designed to uncover shifts in consumer behaviours around digital health info, also reveals that consumers are even ready to disclose online personal data if it leads to improved treatment choices.

“Smartphones and wearables are driving a major behavioural shift in consumer health and wellness,” says Gil Bashe, an executive VP at Makovsky Health.

“Beyond a desire to speed access to information, consumers are using technology to engage proactively in managing their health – and a personality of ‘search’ is influenced by specific medical conditions. Savvy health marketers will apply these insights to engage and involve patients in more meaningful, customised ways.”

The study that was conducted in January to 1,015 nationally representative Americans aged 18 and older, showed that almost two-thirds (66%) of Americans would use a mobile app to manage health-related issues.

It found the top interests when downloading and using mobile health apps reflected desires for informative and interactive programmes ­– which were seen as tracking diet/nutrition (47%), medication reminders (46%), tracking symptoms (45%) and tracking physical activity (44 per cent).

More than 63% of Americans with gastrointestinal conditions surveyed would use mobile health apps to record diet and nutrition. Among obese or overweight consumers, 61% would make use of a mobile app to communicate with a doctor – and half of those with pulmonary conditions would use a mobile app for medication reminders.

Similarly, the findings show 52% of Americans with cardiovascular issues would use a mobile app to track sleeping patterns. When it comes to using a wearables device, 79% would be willing to use such health technology to manage their health – albeit with slightly different preferences to the above when selecting a wearable compared to mobile app usage.

Keeping a close eye on these type of data will surely be big pharma, which has dipped toes into the digital realm through various collaborations like those seen from Novartis and GSK ­­­– but is often accused of playing catch-up as observers to date in any mHealth race, rather than leading any particular charge.

Brett Wells

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