Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Patients aren’t using technology to track their health

Patients are using technology to research health conditions and options, but there’s something they aren’t doing that maybe they should: 

Using technology to track their health.

While most people are taking care to track key health factors for themselves or someone else, few are using mobile apps or other software tools to do so, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project

Among the 3,014 US adults polled, most (69%) said they’re currently tracking key indicators of their own health or that of a loved one — for example, weight, blood pressure and sleep patterns. However, most of them are using primarily low-tech methods to do so:

  • 49% track data “in their heads”
  • 34% use paper, and
  • Just 21% track information using some kind of technology.

Patients have access to an increasing number of technology options for managing health, thanks to new mobile health apps being offered by developers. However, only 19% of smartphone owners surveyed by Pew said they’ve downloaded a mobile app specifically made for health care. Of those that have such apps, most are interested in managing their exercise and nutrition regimens — 38% use an app to track their exercise, 31% have software to monitor their diet, and 12% have downloaded an app to manage their weight.

Doctors: Advise patients on mobile health apps

The fact that most patients are interesting in keep track of their diet and weight, exercise plans, and other key health factors means doctors could help out by suggesting useful mobile apps.

Those mobile health apps can offer reminders for patients and other tips to help keep them on track. However, there many less than reputable health apps out there, and experts say patients could benefit from some guidance from their doctors about what they should use.

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