The number of US consumers using apps and wearables to manage their health has doubled in the past two years, with those aged 18-34 being the most prevalent users of both, according to Accenture.
The findings are part of a survey of around 8,000 consumers in seven countries including the US, Brazil, England and Norway.
The proportion of consumers who use health apps increased from 16 per cent in 2014 to 33 per cent today, with around 40 per cent of respondents saying they have discussed or shared app data with their doctor in the past year.
Consumers most frequently use health apps for fitness, diet/nutrition and symptom navigation (click image to enlarge).
Most consumers are willing to share wearable or app data with a doctor (90 per cent) or a nurse (87 per cent).
However, they are less eager to share data when it comes to health plans or employers (click image to enlarge).
A study published in September last year said there are more than 165,000 mobile health apps available to consumers, though they are still far from being “a fully integrated component of healthcare delivery”.
Use of wearables for health went up from 9 per cent in 2014 to 21 per cent in 2016, with both consumers and doctors agreeing that devices help engagement.
Of the one in five consumers in the survey who were asked by a doctor to use wearables to track their health, such as fitness or vital signs, three-quarters followed their physician’s recommendation.
Willingness to do so can also offer data to be used in virtual visits, which are increasing in popularity due to convenience and cost advantages.
“Digital tools are empowering patients to take charge of their health and interact with the system on their own terms,” said Kaveh Safavi, senior managing director, global health industry at Accenture, and one of the authors of the report.
“Healthcare providers will need to weave digital capabilities into the core of their business model so that it becomes embedded in everything they do,” he added.