Health Union Survey Finds Devices Most Often Used for Health Are Not Always Most Helpful
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Results from a new Health Union survey of people living with chronic health conditions reveals that devices that are most often used for health purposes, such as smartphones, are not always considered the most helpful for managing health and wellness. The Connected Health 2020 survey aimed to examine the value and outcomes of use of mobile and connected health devices and apps among people living with chronic conditions.
Survey findings show that more than eight in 10 respondents - all living with a chronic health condition - use at least one technological device to manage their health and wellness.
Nearly six in 10 respondents who own a smartphone said they use it to manage their health and wellness, representing the highest percentage among multipurpose devices. Nearly half of those who own a fitness/wellness wearable (46%) or a laptop or desktop computer (45%) said they use those respective devices for health purposes. An even smaller percentage of smartwatch (38%), tablet (32%) and smart home device (10%) owners leverage them to manage their health.
And when people living with chronic conditions use devices to manage their health and wellness, they are for a bevy of reasons. Nearly three in 10 of those respondents said they use their devices for fitness or exercise, while 23% use devices for diet or nutrition purposes. And nearly a fifth use their devices for sleep, mental or emotional health and weight management.
However, the survey's findings suggest that using conected health technology is not always as helpful as desired. Only 28% of respondents who said they use devices or apps to manage their health agreed they are actually effective in doing so.
Unsurprisingly, devices specifically designed for managing health were considered among the most helpful for the respondents who use them. More than seven in 10 respondents considered medication adherence devices and condition-specific devices, such as pacemakers and blood sugar monitors, to be helpful for managing health and wellness.
In terms of multipurpose devices, 69% of respondents who use smartwatches to manage health and wellness find them helpful. Similar, but lower, levels of helpfulness were reported among people who use fitness wearables (64%), laptop or desktop computers (63%), smartphones (62%), and tablet devices (59%). Only 28% of smart home device users found them to be helpful for managing their health and wellness.
This perceived lack of effectiveness could be related to feeling confused or overwhelmed by various technological offerings. More than a third of respondents agree it can be overwhelming to understand which health and wellness apps might help them. In an open-end response, one person noted being "unsure what to use since I have multiple issues that complicate it on top of not knowing which app is best since there are so many." Additionally, 18% said they are unsure how technology can improve their health.
"With so many different health tech options out there, it can be difficult and often confusing to parse out what devices and apps can actually have an impact on people's health and wellness," said Tim Armand, co-founder and president of Health Union. "These survey findings seek to help biopharma and healthcare professionals better understand how people living with chronic conditions perceive the effectiveness of the various available options and how to create options that people find relevant and useful."
Health Union's Connected Health 2020 survey, which fielded from July 30 to Nov. 10, 2020, included responses from 2,309 people living with a chronic health condition, two-thirds of whom were aged 60 and older.
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