Americans eager to use mobile tools to manage personal health

Roughly two-thirds of Americans are enthusiastic about tapping digital tools for managing personal health and such eagerness likely will drive deeper adoption of wearables and use of mobile medical apps, a new online health survey reveals.

The fifth annual "Pulse of Online Health," conducted by Makovsky Health/Kelton, also reveals that consumer healthcare decisions primarily are guided by data sources considered high quality. Americans it found, often are willing to pay more for healthcare innovations that will lower costs and new treatments that will reduce side effects.

"Smartphones and wearables are driving a major behavioral shift in consumer health and wellness," Gil Bashe, Makovsky Health executive vice president, said in an announcement.

The survey, which tracks shifts in consumer online healthcare information use, also notes that close to 90 percent of consumers are more willing to disclose online personal health data if it helps boost treatment options.

"Beyond a desire to speed access to information, consumers are using technology to engage proactively in managing their health," Bashe said. He noted that the survey illustrates "stark differences" between millennials and those 66 years old and older when it comes to apps, with millennials more than twice as likely to use the mHealth tech.

The survey results align with earlier reports regarding mHealth trends. This year will bring a transition shift of mHealth tech from the fitness realm to the medical and home patient monitoring environments, TechKnowledge Strategies analyst Mike Feibus recently wrote. Meanwhile, Mary Weschler, CIO at Henry Ford Health Systems, has said that mHealth is revolutionizing the way of patients receiving their care.

The Makovsky Health/Kelton survey states that Americans are most interested in apps for tracking diet and nutrition, medication reminders, tracking symptoms and tracking physical activity. Among obese consumers, 61 percent said they would use an app to communicate with a doctor regarding health issues, and 52 percent of heart patients said they would use mHealth for tracking sleeping behavior.

"This survey shows Americans aren't relying exclusively on healthcare providers or the government for health information these days, underscoring the enormous opportunity for health news organizations and healthcare companies to become go-to sources," Kelton Founder and CEO Tom Bernthal said.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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