U.S. Consumer Adoption of Apps To Manage Chronic Conditions, Health and Fitness Activities

A solid minority of American consumers are adopting mobile health apps to manage chronic conditions or maintain their health and fitness, according to a new survey conducted by Redox.

The survey, which reached out to 1019 American adults, found that almost one-third of respondents either use or are open to using apps for these purposes.

One result from the survey was that Gen Xers were 37% more likely than baby boomers and 4% more likely than millennials to manage medical conditions with mobile apps. Gen Xers were 48% more likely than baby boomers, 15% more likely than Gen Z and 7% more likely than millennials to use mobile apps to manage health and fitness routines.

Among those who weren’t using or open to using health apps, worries over privacy and security were the top concerns cited by respondents. Baby boomers were particularly concerned about privacy and security risks, citing these worries 54% more often than millennials and 23% more often than Gen X.

On the other hand, roughly four out of 10 respondents said they were willing to share their mobile health data with doctors and providers, with females 18% more likely than males to share such information.

When asked why mobile health apps might be helpful, respondents aid their top reasons included enhanced communication with providers and the ability to engage with their health.

The numbers on consumer adoption of these technologies are less robust than I would have predicted. If you have to lump in both mobile health app users and potential users just to reach one-third of the respondents, we’re still left with two-thirds of consumers who just aren’t interested. This is more than a little surprising (at least to me) given how long health apps have been available and how wide a range of functions they offer.

In fact, if this survey is any indication, mobile health app adoption seems to be stagnant, which may undermine some of health IT leaders’ plans. While HIT execs are basing at least some of their plans on the growing availability of patient-generated health data – collected largely by mobile apps – that data may not be as valuable as many of us hoped if only a minority of patients actually collect and share that data.

This is not to say that we should throw in the towel, by any means. Mobile health apps are still playing an important role in the evolution of digital health, and this is likely to remain the case in years to come. On the other hand, it seems that unless providers do a better job of calming patient fears about the privacy and security of the data these apps collect, adoption may not expand much further, limiting the benefits it can deliver. Looks like we have a problem on our hands, people.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

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