Health IT

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


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.


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.