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So many apps, so little adoption: Docs say most patients who track data do it the old-fashioned way

6:08 pm by | 11 Comments

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The good news for mobile health app developers is that physicians seem to be open to the idea of reviewing data that patients have tracked themselves. The bad news is that 30 percent of doctors say they don’t have patients who track, and those that do say most patients do it the old-fashioned way.

Manhattan Research’s annual Taking the Pulse survey, conducted online with nearly 3,000 physicians in the first quarter of the year, delivered some interesting insights. First, 70 percent of surveyed physicians said they had at least one patient sharing health measurement data with them.

That might seem like a lot, but that still leaves a full 30 percent who say they don’t have a single patient who writes down information about their symptoms, habits, etc. and shares it with their doctor. That seems like an awful lot.

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The physicians surveyed also said that the most common ways patients track are by handwriting data or sharing a printout. That’s consistent with data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s annual survey, which has shown flat adoption of mobile health apps at around 10 percent.

Manhattan Research, though, puts a more positive spin on the data. “Self-tracking is already a part of the care paradigm, and its prevalence is going to accelerate rapidly as digital connection, payment reform and outcome-focused delivery make advances,” said James Avallone, the firm’s director of physician research. In fact, 75 percent of physicians said they believed patient self-tracking can lead to better health outcomes.

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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11 comments
Erin
Erin

Apps to follow health care recommendations and to track symptoms and compliance are going to be the norm when those 30 and under start needing to do these things.  I don't quite meet that age cut-off (being 43) but I am a social media manager and, therefore, adopt new tech and new mech earlier than most in my age group. 

I wouldn't worry that the majority of those who track compliance are still using paper or printouts.  Apps just aren't in the wheelhouse for most with chronic illness right now.  We'll see steady increases in usage from here on out--right until they invent a new way to do it. 

letlifehappen
letlifehappen

@PaulMoniz1 Sure hope so. It will be so beneficial for the patient and the doctor. Not sure that older people will get on board though.

kaumee
kaumee

@mjseres our patients created My Medications Passport which is paper & app version - just started using the App which is great for me...

iyershreya
iyershreya

@DShaywitz What will help convince all entities to embrace health innovation that is being made then? Better marketing?

iyershreya
iyershreya

@DShaywitz I think it would be more convincing if doc tell people what apps to use bc of their authority, right? Or would that create bias?

DShaywitz
DShaywitz

@iyershreya no med apps generall bc they're not engaging+useful; not issue of pushing out, but making something people want 2use