SOURCE: Research Now Group, Inc.

Research Now Group, Inc.

March 17, 2015 11:19 ET

Are Mobile Medical Apps Good for Our Health? A New Study by Research Now Reveals That Doctors and Patients Say 'Yes'

PLANO, TX--(Marketwired - Mar 17, 2015) - The study, revealed today, looks into the use of mobile health apps1, and assesses their potential in healthcare. Digital data collection provider, Research Now, spoke to 500 healthcare professionals2 and 1,000 health app users in the U.S.

The survey asked healthcare professionals whether they currently use smartphone technology in their medical practice; whether they thought it was beneficial and for which types of patients; and under what conditions they thought it had the greatest potential. The health app users were asked which types of apps they use and how they feel about using smartphone technology in relation to their health.

Key findings:

  • 46% of healthcare professionals say that they will introduce mobile apps to their practice in the next five years.
  • 86% of healthcare professionals believe that health apps will increase their knowledge of patients' conditions.
  • 96% of users think that health apps help to improve their quality of life.
  • 72% of healthcare professionals believe that health apps will encourage patients to take more responsibility for their health.

Vincent DeRobertis, Senior Vice President of Global Healthcare at Research Now, said, "Mobile apps for smartphones are changing the way doctors and their patients approach medicine and health issues. Patients with heart disease can send information about their heart rate straight to their doctors, accessories allow diabetics to monitor their blood glucose levels by sending the results straight to their smartphone, and nutritionists can see trends in patients' caloric intake and exercise patterns.

"Patients are gathering data about their condition or treatment, ultimately improving their health, or perhaps reducing visits to a physician. Apps are improving healthcare professionals' knowledge of their patients, while patients feel a lift in their quality of life. Obviously, there is a huge opportunity for the use of these apps."

Healthcare professionals believe that health apps will improve medical care

  • 86% believe that health apps will increase their knowledge of their patients' conditions.
  • 72% believe that they will encourage patients to take more responsibility for their health.
  • 50% think that they will increase the efficiency of patient treatment.
  • 46% believe that they will improve their relationship with their patients.

Healthcare professionals see the greatest benefits for helping patients with chronic diseases

  • 76% of health professionals believe that they will help patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • 61% believe that they will help those who are at rising-risk of developing health issues; 55% believe they have the potential to help people who are healthy; and 48% believe they have the potential to help patients recently discharged from a hospital.

Most people use the apps as a lifestyle choice, but their use to support healthcare is growing

  • Most people use health apps to help them lose weight and to track their exercise (60% to monitor activity/workouts, 53% to motivate them to exercise, 49% to record calorie intake, and 42% to monitor weight loss).
  • However, 30% use the apps to monitor existing health conditions and 29%, to remind them to take medication.
  • 96% of health app users think that health apps help to improve their quality of life, while only 37% of health professionals believe that they will improve their patients' lives.

Few healthcare professionals are currently using these apps, but they expect to do so in the next five years

  • There is a small group of early adopters of smartphone technology in the healthcare profession; 16% already use it in their work with patients. However, 46% believe that they will introduce mHealth apps to their practice in the next five years.
  • Only 19% of healthcare professionals do not expect smartphone technology to become part of their work in healthcare.
  • 59% of health professionals use smartphone technology to access medical research and 28% expect to in the next five years.
  • 32% of mobile health app users say that they share information collected by apps with their doctors.

Health apps are already hugely popular, but they are no longer about fitness and diet alone. MyFitnessPal®, a diet tracker, boasts over 65 million users3 and the Nike+ Running App has more than 30 million users4. However, a new breed of health apps is developing, which are more medically focused. For example, the recent Apple software update iOS 8 included a health app, which was automatically installed on updated iPhones5.

Mobile accessories are developing too, such as OneTouch Verio® Test Strips6, which test a small sample of blood for glucose levels and send the results straight to the user's smartphone, allowing them to share with their doctors. Or ViSi Mobile®7, a gadget that can monitor a patient's vital signs and send them to an iPhone® or iPad® after they have been discharged. Google have also made headlines recently as they are developing a wristband that can detect cancer and impending heart attacks8.

About the Survey
Research Now used its "BY-INVITATION-ONLY"™ consumer research panel, its Valued Opinions® Panel, and its deeply-profiled Healthcare Panel to conduct the online survey among a total of 1,000 healthcare professionals and 2,000 smartphone owners who acknowledged their use of mobile health apps -- evenly split between U.S. residents and U.K. residents. Quotas were set for age and gender to bring them more into line with their actual proportions in the population. The study ran between January 9 and January 22, 2015. For complete survey methodology, please contact hmilt@researchnow.com.

MyFitnessPal®, Nike+ Running, Apple®, iPhone®, iPad®, OneTouch Verio®, and ViSi Mobile® are trademarks of MyFitnessPal, Inc., Nike, Inc., Apple, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Corporation and Sotera Wireless, Inc., respectively. Research Now Group, Inc. is not affiliated or connected with MyFitnessPal, Inc., Nike, Inc., Apple, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Corporation, or Sotera Wireless, Inc.

About Research Now Group, Inc.
Research Now Group, Inc., headquartered in Plano, Texas, is the global leader in digital data collection to power analytics and insights. It enables data-driven decision making for clients who listen to and interact with the world's consumers and business professionals through Research Now's online panels, as well as mobile, digital and social media technologies. The company operates in 38 countries, from 24 offices across the globe, and is recognized as the market research industry's leader in quality, scale and customer satisfaction. For more information, go to www.researchnow.com.

1 We define mobile health apps as digital tools that record data about your health and are connected to your smartphone device
2 Healthcare professionals are defined as doctors, nurses and allied health professionals
3 http://www.health2con.com/news/2014/09/19/an-interview-with-mike-lee-ceo-co-founder-of-myfitnesspal/
4 http://news.nike.com/news/nike-running-invites-more-runners-to-reach-their-training-goals
5 https://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/ 
6 http://www.onetouch.com/veriosync 
7 http://internetmedicine.com/visi-mobile/ 
8 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29802581

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