Condition-Specific mHealth Devices Best In Chronic Care Management

Smartphones are the most used device for chronic care management, however condition-specific mHealth devices are most effective.

Condition-Specific mHealth Devices Best In Chronic Care Management

While connected health apps and devices are commonly used for chronic care management, condition-specific mHealth strategies are most effective, based on results from a new Health Union survey.

Connected health is popular among people living with chronic conditions, with more than eight in 10 respondents using at least one mHealth device to manage their health and wellness.

The Connected Health 2020 survey results showed that 70 percent of respondents who used condition-specific mHealth devices found them effective at managing health and wellness. These strategies include medication adherence devices, pacemakers, and blood sugar monitors.

However, the survey revealed that just 28 percent of respondents who use devices or apps not specific to their condition found them effective.

This lack of effectiveness could be related to feeling overwhelmed and confused by the plethora of available connected health technologies. One in three respondents agreed that it can be overwhelming to understand which health and wellness apps might help them.

One person noted in an open-ended response that with multiple chronic conditions and so many apps to choose from, they were unsure which to use. Additionally, 18 percent of respondents said they were generally 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,” Armand continued.

In terms of multipurpose devices, 69 percent of respondents who use smartwatches for chronic care management find them helpful. However, the survey found that only 38 percent of smartwatch owners use them to manage their health.

Nearly half of respondents who own a fitness or wellness wearable (46 percent) or a laptop or desktop computer (45 percent) said they use those respective devices for health and wellness purposes.

Levels of effectiveness of these devices were slightly lower than smartwatches. For respondents who used fitness wearables, 64 percent found them effective. Sixty-three percent of those who used laptop or desktop computers reported they were helpful in chronic disease management. Sixty-two percent of people who used smartphones for health purposes and 59 percent of those who used tablets found those respective devices effective.

The usage and effectiveness of smart home devices for chronic disease management stood as an outlier, with just 10 percent of owners leveraging them for health purposes and 28 percent of users finding them helpful.

The survey also found that people living with chronic conditions use devices to manage their health and wellness for a variety of reasons. Nearly one third of respondents said they use their devices for fitness or exercise, while 23 percent use them for diet or nutrition. Almost 20 percent of respondents use mHealth devices or apps for sleep, mental or emotional health and weight management.

Health Union’s Connected Health 2020 survey was fielded from July 30 to Nov. 10, 2020 and included responses from 2,309 people living with a chronic health condition. Two-thirds of respondents were aged 60 and older.

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