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Survey: Doctors and Patients See Benefits in Mobile Apps

March 24, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Nearly half (46 percent) healthcare professionals say that they will introduce mobile apps to their practice in the next five year, according to the Plano, Tex.-based Research Now Group.

The survey included 500 healthcare professionals and 1,000 health app users in the U. S. Healthcare professionals were asked whether they currently use smartphone technology in their medical practice; whether they thought it was beneficial and for which types of patients; and under what conditions they thought it had the greatest potential. The health app users were asked which types of apps they use and how they feel about using smartphone technology in relation to their health.

The research found that 86 percent of healthcare professionals believe that health apps will increase their knowledge of patients' conditions. What’s more, 96 percent of users think that health apps help to improve their quality of life, and 72 percent of healthcare professionals believe that health apps will encourage patients to take more responsibility for their health.

Half of healthcare professionals think that apps will increase the efficiency of patient treatment, and 46 percent believe that they will improve their relationship with their patients. Healthcare professionals see the greatest benefits for helping patients with chronic diseases—76 percent believe that they will help patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease.

However, just 16 percent of healthcare professionals already use mobile apps in their work with patients; 59 percent of health professionals use smartphone technology to access medical research, and 28 percent expect to in the next five years. Thirty-two percent of mobile health app users say that they share information collected by apps with their doctors.

The research further found that most people use the apps as a lifestyle choice, but their use to support healthcare is growing. Most people use health apps to help them lose weight and to track their exercise, while 30 percent use the apps to monitor existing health conditions and 29 percent, to remind them to take medication.

"Mobile apps for smartphones are changing the way doctors and their patients approach medicine and health issues,” Vincent DeRobertis, senior vice president of global healthcare at Research Now, said in a statement. “Patients with heart disease can send information about their heart rate straight to their doctors, accessories allow diabetics to monitor their blood glucose levels by sending the results straight to their smartphone, and nutritionists can see trends in patients' caloric intake and exercise patterns…Apps are improving healthcare professionals' knowledge of their patients, while patients feel a lift in their quality of life.”

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