Survey: Patients more accepting of mobile apps than prescription drugs

A survey by healthcare marketing and advertising agency Digitas Health has found that 90 percent of patients would accept the offer of a mobile app, while only 66 percent of respondents would accept prescription medicine from their doctor. The results of the survey of 2,000 U.S. patients were presented at Digitas Health's Think Digital Event in London and reported by PMLiVE.

Those using mobile health technology were pretty evenly distributed across age groups, but they were highly skewed towards women, according to the article. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of the mobile health users surveyed were considering switching their treatment.

"A large number of people out there on a prescription medication are actually considering a change," Geoff McCleary, Digitas Health's group director of mobile innovations, is quoted as saying. "So there's an opportunity in this space to figure out how we can better serve patient needs and get them the treatment and information that's going to make a difference to them."

Conducted last month, the survey covered 20 disease states across the five core categories of respiratory, cardiology, CNS, gastroenterology and diabetes. A key finding from the research was that more than 60 percent of active mobile health users were diagnosed over three years ago, suggesting people with more chronic conditions seem to continue to look for more information.

"We were expecting this to be a little more recent and, looking at heavy smartphone use, we were assuming users would have only recently been diagnosed, or working with a patient," said McCleary. "But we found that we're looking at people that have had a condition for some time and are still doing research and seeking to get additional information."

In another recent U.S. survey commissioned by Royal Philips Electronics, a quarter of Americans said they trust symptom checker websites, symptom check mobile apps or home-based vital sign monitors as much as they do their doctors. In addition, about an equal proportion (26 percent) often use these resources instead of going to the doctor.

The survey was taken from a national sample of 1,003 adults, comprising of 503 men and 500 women ages 18 years and older, living in the continental United States. More than a third (35 percent) of those surveyed believe technology that allows one to monitor their own health is now the key to living a long life.

The Digitas Health survey found that around a third of those diagnosed with a particular condition are not currently being treated with a prescription medicine and that 13 percent were not on any form of medication. In addition, the survey indicates that patients and consumers are willing to spend money on a whole range of devices that help them manage their health, from monitoring devices like Nike Fuel Bands or Fit Bits to wireless scales.

"Our research has told us that they're more than willing to spend money on that and they're going to continue to grow in their usage of those things," McCleary said."So they're doing that adherence level activity already without us and we, as experts in drugs, have a great opportunity to be able to help them, by providing even more information, tools and resources to use in conjunction with their medicines."

To learn more:
- read the article