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Report: U.S. Caregivers Use Digital Health Tools

December 22, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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More than 40 percent of caregivers in U.S. broadband households currently use a digital health device as part of their caregiving routine, including 8 percent who use online tools to coordinate their efforts, according to a new report from market researcher Parks Associates.

For the report, researchers looked at multiple consumer surveys, including a Q2 2014 survey of 10,000 U.S. broadband households, to analyze consumer health and wellness behaviors, calculate market potential for digital health solutions, and evaluate business strategies for consumer engagement and usage of wellness and fitness apps.

The report found that 22 percent of broadband households include an individual who currently cares for a family member or anticipates doing so in the near future. Among current and future caregivers, their top concern is that their family member will fall and be unable to get help, so the smart device with the highest interest (44 percent of current and future caregivers) is an electronic panic button that can signal an emergency. Also, 30 percent find an electronic tracking watch with a panic button appealing. Currently, just 8 percent of caregivers use an electronic watch to track the family member under their care, the report found.

According to the report, current and future caregivers also expressed an interest in:

  • Electronic pill boxes;
  • Electronic sensors;
  • Home monitoring security systems;
  • GPS device/smartphone
  • Online care coordination tools; and
  • Webcams for two-way communications and for home monitoring

“The appeal of digital services to help provide care is far greater than current adoption levels of digital health solutions in general,” Harry Wang, director, health & mobile product research, Parks Associates, said in a news release statement.” At 2015 International CES, we'll see many new digital health devices and software on display, including innovations from companies such as Sleep Number, Independa, Bosch Healthcare, and Grandcare, and wearable tech from iHealth Labs, Misfit, Sensogram, and Vancive Medical Technology. These innovative solutions will find strong interest among current caregivers, but they will also have high standards to meet in improving the ways caregivers can monitor their family members.”

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