Individuals are embracing multiple electronic tools to manage their health, according to a new survey from digital venture firm Rock Health.
The second annual survey of more than 4,000 representative U.S. adults found that 46 percent of consumers are now considered active digital health adopters, up from 19 percent in 2015. An active adopter is defined as an individual having used three or more categories of digital health tools, such as telemedicine and wearables. The number of Americans who are non-adopters dropped from 20 percent in 2015 to just 12 percent.
“We’re at a tipping point, and we’ll continue to see growth in this,” says Ashlee Adams, Vice President of Partnerships and Strategies for Rock Health and one of the authors of the study.
Other findings include:
- A majority of Americans are interested in obtaining an electronic copy of their health record, and 20 percent have asked for or downloaded a copy in the last six months.
- Video-based telemedicine adoption more than tripled from seven percent in 2015 to 22 percent in 2016, with the majority of uses occurring in the last quarter of 2016. Thirty percent of telemedicine visits are self-pay, compared to visits covered by insurance (11 percent) and employers (10 percent).
- More than three-fourths (77 percent) are interested in sharing their health information, especially to get better care from their doctor, despite privacy and security concerns.
- Of consumers tracking their health, the most common metrics recorded using an app are physical activity (44 percent) and heart rate (31 percent).
- Almost a third of people who downloaded a health app did so because the app was recommended by their doctor.
- Nearly a quarter of Americans own a wearable, up from 12 percent in 2015.
Perhaps surprisingly, consumers who self-identified as unhealthy were more likely to be an active adopter, with 77 percent of them searching the internet for health-related issues and 55 percent having written an online review about a specific provider.
“It’s counter to the narrative you hear in digital health that the active users are the well or the worried well,” says Adams.
Adams expects this uptick in consumer use of digital health tools will cause more providers to use and recommend them.
“Vendors like Apple have been catering to individuals but now they’re influencing providers to adopt,” she says.