30 Percent of Americans Would Use Mobile Phones to Monitor Health

PricewaterhouseCooper recently released their Healthcare Unwired report which stats that three in ten Americans would use a smartphone or mobile phone to monitor their health, and 40% would pay for a remote monitoring device. The study also surveyed physicians and found that almost two-thirds of physicians are using their own personal devices for mobile healthcare that aren’t connected to their practice or hospital IT systems, and that many physicians feel that the Internet would help them give access to more patients as time is a constraint in expanding care to more patients.

The survey perhaps highlights an important and emerging market for medical management by patients. Apple’s Steve Jobs had demoed a diabetes testing and monitoring system that connects to the iPhone via the smartphone’s dock connector, but so far not a lot of medical tools have emerged; the tool’s purpose is to monitor blood sugar levels, keep reports, send reports to physicians and care providers, and send important reminders to patients.

The full survey report is after the break.

The survey finds that:

  • Thirty-one percent of consumers said they would be willing to incorporate an application into their existing cell phone or smart phone to be able track and monitor their personal health information.
  • Forty percent of consumers said they would be willing to pay for a device and a monthly subscription fee for a mobile phone application that would send text and e-mail reminders to take their medications, refill prescriptions or to access their medical records and track their health. Twenty-seven percent of consumers said they would find medication reminders sent via text to be helpful, and men are twice as likely as women to say they would use a mobile device for health-related reminders.
  • Forty percent of consumers would also be willing to pay for a remote monitoring device and a monthly subscription that would send data automatically to their doctor health information such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight.
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute estimates the annual consumer market for remote/mobile monitoring devices and services to be $7.7 billion to $43 billion, based on the range consumers said they would be willing to pay.
  • Fifty-six percent of consumers say they like the idea of remote healthcare, and 41 percent would prefer to have more of their care delivered via a mobile device.
  • Physicians agree that patient compliance with doctor recommendations is a major obstacle to managing health outcomes, and 88 percent of physicians said they would like their patients to be able to track and/or monitor their health at home, particularly their weight, blood sugar levels and vital signs.
  • Fifty-seven percent of physicians said they would like to use remote devices to monitor the patients outside of the hospital. Physicians, however, want to see filtered information or exceptions in their patient’s health, not all the data all the time. Too much information could actually slow down care.

From the physician side, the survey results are as follows:

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of physicians surveyed said they are using personal devices for mobile health solutions that aren’t connected to their practice or hospital IT systems, and 30 percent said their hospital or practice leaders will not support the use of mobile health devices.
  • Of those physicians who are using mobile devices in their practice, 56 percent said the devices expedite decision making and nearly 40 percent said the use of mobile devices decreases time spent on administration.
  • The top challenge physicians said they face in their practice is accessing information where and when it is needed. One-third of physicians surveyed said they currently make decisions based on incomplete information for seven out of ten patients they see. Only half of physicians surveyed currently access electronic medical records while visiting and treating their patients, a situation that will improve with meaningful use requirements for physicians to use interoperable electronic medical records. Physicians agreed that the greatest benefit of mobile health would be to help them make decisions faster by accessing more accurate data in real time.
  • The second biggest challenge for physicians is they don’t have time to interact with patients as much as they would like. Forty-five percent of physicians said that Internet visits would expand access to patients.
  • Forty percent of physicians said they could reduce the number of office visits by 11 to 30 percent by using mobile health technologies like remote monitoring, email or text messaging with patients. Such shifts could address the shortage of physicians, reduce hospital readmission costs and increase access for patients who delay care because they don’t want to wait for an appointment.

Filed in Cellphones >Medical. Read more about Smartphones.

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