OSLO; June 9, 2016 –The number of consumers who use wearables and mobile apps for managing their health increased in the past two years, according to the results of a survey by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
Specifically, the number of consumers in Norway who use health apps increased from 30 percent in 2014 to 33 percent today, and the number of consumers who use wearables increased from 15 percent to 19 percent during the same time. These Norway findings are part of a seven-country survey of roughly 8,000 consumers – including 800 in Norway – with select findings compared to a similar survey of physicians.
Growing Use of Health Apps and Wearables
Digital tools, such as wearables and mobile apps, are becoming part of interactions between doctors and patients. Of the approximately one in five consumers in Norway in the most-recent survey who were asked by a doctor to use wearables to track their health, such as fitness (20 percent) or vital signs (24 percent), the majority (80 percent) followed their physician’s recommendation. The majority of consumers (60 percent) and doctors (70 percent) alike said that using these devices helps a patient engage in their health.
Nearly a third (29 percent) who use health apps have discussed or shared mobile app data with their doctor in the past year. Consumers most frequently use mobile apps for diet/nutrition (cited by 52 percent), fitness (39 percent), medication reminders (19 percent) and health or condition tracking (18 percent).
While over three fourths (76 percent) of Norwegian consumers said they would be at least somewhat willing to share wearable or app data with doctors, far fewer (24 percent) said they would be willing to share that data with their employers.
Use of Virtual Care
More than one third (34 percent) of consumers in Norway said they prefer virtual doctor appointments to face-to-face doctor appointments if it meant they could see a doctor quickly – though two-thirds (66 percent) would still wait longer to see a doctor in person. In fact, consumers in Norway rely primarily on healthcare professionals, not mobile health tools, more than consumers in the other countries surveyed. Only 11 percent of Norwegian consumers in the most recent survey noted that they rely primarily on mobile health tools. However, Norwegian physicians and consumers alike believe that virtual visits provide benefits for patients, such as lower costs (58 percent of consumers vs. 79 percent of doctors) and convenience for patients’ schedules (50 vs. 80 percent), while in-person visits provide quality care to patients (67 percent of consumers vs. 83 percent of doctors).
“Digital tools are empowering patients to take charge of their health and interact with the system on their own terms,” said Geir Prestegård, who leads Accenture’s Norway health business. “Healthcare providers will need to weave digital capabilities into the core of their business model so that it becomes embedded in everything they do.”
A Norwegian translation of this release can be found here.
Accenture commissioned a survey of roughly 8,000 consumers in seven countries to assess their adoption and attitudes toward digital health tools, electronic health records and their healthcare providers’ electronic capabilities. The seven countries represented were the United States (2,225 respondents), Australia (1,013), Brazil (1,006), England (1,009), Norway (800), Saudi Arabia (852) and Singapore (935). The survey was conducted by Nielsen between November 2015 and January 2016. Where relevant, the survey refers to select findings from a similar physician survey to compare doctor and consumer responses.
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