People using health apps and wearables are likely to track exercise and heart rate, sleep and weight, but cost is still a barrier.

One in three US consumers use a health app or wearable technology device to track some aspect of their health.

“The public’s use of health apps and wearable devices has grown in recent years, but digital health still has room to grow,” argues a new Morning Consult survey released today.

Most users of digital health technologies check them at least once a day in the past month. One in four use these technologies several times a day, the first pie chart shows. 18 percent of people use their digital health technology several times a week.

Morning Consult found that among people who don’t already use health apps or wearable technology, cost is the main reason they haven’t adopted digital health tools.

Why do people own and use healthcare wearables? Mostly motivated to reach their fitness goals (31%), followed by an interest in tracking their personal health data (24%). In a distant third place is encouragement to lose or control weight (13%).

Those fitness goals are reflected in this next chart, which quantifies the proportion of people using health apps by clinical reason;

Next, sleep and weight health consumers want to track the most (for about half of health app and technology users), followed by diet/food/counting calories (41%), and in fifth place is blood pressure tracking (for 36% of digital health technology users ).

Nearly 1 in 4 consumers use digital health to track medications, mental health, and mood.

Hot spots of Health Populi. We’ve traditionally expected health apps to come out of “digital health” companies, the likes of which we’ve seen every year at CES, the big consumer electronics show. Once upon a time in the digital health space, it was Fitbit, Nike, Garmin, and Apple who flooded the app stores with health tracking apps.

Today, we’re downloading health-focused apps from new touchpoints that are playing an increasing role in consumer self-care and health tracking; such as grocery stores and retail pharmacies on the pure consumer side and from Abbott (which launched the Lingo app for metabolic health. CES 2022) and other FDA-regulated companies on the more clinical side of patient workflows.

Here’s today’s hotspots, I’m introducing Albertsons’ recently released Honest App, which combines healthy behaviors with good food and financial incentives.

The second graphic, titled “ready to start your health journey,” starts with downloading an app and creating an account, and ends with a $10 grocery coupon.

As many consumers told Morning Consult, the “price” and value of apps is the most important factor when it comes to their adoption and continued use. Our grocery stores have become focal points for our health and well-being in a larger retail health/self-care ecosystem based on our homes as our wellness hubs.

This has long been a consistent sentiment among healthcare consumers. Here’s how I covered the PwC study. The Wearable Future: still in 2014

Note the chart on the left from the PwC study, which shows that consumers are much more likely to use wearable technology if their employer pays for it, whether it’s a smartwatch, fitness band, or smart glasses.

A Morning Consult survey gives us some insight into this, nearly ten years later, with an observation by Scott Whittaker, CEO of medical device industry group AdvaMed, quoted in the survey’s press release.

For context, Morning Consult notes that “one way to help increase adoption is for public and private payers to open up coverage for devices that can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Another factor in device coverage is to pay for the data processing systems and artificial intelligence services that some products use, in addition to paying for the device.”

AdvaMed’s Scott Whittaker further notes that while Medicare has “opened up a bit over the last few years to cover more apps and wearables,” the payer is still “stuck in the 60s” with fee-for-service; reimbursed for digital health devices and apps.

Whitaker told Morning Consult. “I’m not sure that as a payer, Medicare fully understands the value of wearables and other forms of technology to reduce costs and improve health outcomes for Medicare enrollees.”

As employers increasingly focus on employee health and population health, the enterprise coverage vision that PwC began quantifying in 2014 is (finally) becoming more mainstream. I look forward to discussing this at the Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit in April 2023.

Source link