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Mobile Health Tools Keep Patients and Doctors In Sync

Health apps, trackers link doctors and patients

April 10, 2015 | Mobile | Healthcare & Pharma

Health apps can help bridge the physician-patient gap, based on recent research. In a January 2015 study by Research Now, 56.6% of US adult mobile health app users shared their tracked health information with their doctors, and an additional 14.2% provided this data to other healthcare professionals.

Ways in Which US Smartphone Health App Users Use Health Apps, Jan 2015 (% of respondents)

These apps are likely brimming with patient information, as users turned them for a multitude of reasons. Recording workouts and daily activity was the most common use case for smartphone health apps. Monitoring diet, health conditions, stress, sleep and medication were also relatively common.

In January 2015 polling, Kelton Research (KR) and Makovsky Health found high interest in using a plethora of apps to manage health among US internet users in general, and the possibility mobile apps present of linking doctors and patients rang true; 28% said they would use them to communicate with doctors, and 27% would store questions about their condition for future visits.

Wearables present doctors with another way to collect patient info, and recent data suggests users are willing to share this with physicians. According to Nuance, 25.0% of US internet users brought health data from a personal health monitoring device when going to a physician visit.

In research conducted in December 2014 by Harris Poll for A&D Medical, around one-fifth of US internet users said they would use connected health devices to allow their doctor to be “in the know” to prevent surprises during visits, and a similar percentage said they would allow their doctor to monitor their health 24/7 if necessary.

Frequency with Which US Wearable Health Tracker Owners Wear Their Device, Jan 2015 (% of respondents)

About one-quarter of internet users in the KR and Makovsky study said they would be willing to use a wearable device to manage health in order to communicate with doctors, and 20% would store questions for future visits.

Health tracker owners are frequent users, meaning their devices are likely ripe with data about their daily lives and habits—and how healthy they are. One-third of Research Now respondents said they always wore their wearable health trackers, and just under a quarter only took them off to sleep.

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