Most patients want their doctors to prescribe apps

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 1, 2013        

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Pfizer Recipes2Go

A mobile app released last year by Pfizer.

A staggering 90 percent of chronic patients in the US would accept a mobile app prescription from their physician, as opposed to only 66 percent willing to accept a prescription of medication, according to a recent survey from health communications firm Digitas Health. Digitas presented preliminary research findings at a recent event in London, PMLiVE reports.

The data comes out shortly after the launch of WellDoc’s BlueStar, the first “mobile integrated therapy” that can be prescribed through existing Rx channels and paid for through private health plans.

Digitas Health surveyed 2,000 patients with 20 different cardiac, gastrointestinal, and respiratory diseases as well as CNS and diabetes. The full report is due out in the fall.

“[In Europe], we certainly look at physicians and pharmacists as more of our primary targets. But at the end of the day, the patients are the ones that take the pill and it is the patient that has to have the positive outcome from that medication,” Geoff McCleary, VP and director of mobile innovation at Digitas Health, told PMLiVE. “So we wanted to make sure we had a better understanding of the patient type and their mobile health activities.”

The study found that users of mobile applications for health skewed mostly female and spanned all different age groups. More than 60 percent of mobile health users with chronic conditions had been living with their disease for more than 3 years, as opposed to people who had just been diagnosed.

Digitas Health has spoken before about the opportunities for pharma in the mobile health space. Marty DeAngelo, vice president and director of interactive design at Digitas Health, wrote last year that out of 25 major drug brands, only 3 had mobile-enabled websites.

McCleary also said the study showed patients were very willing to spend money on digital health directly, even outside of a prescription. He also said that of the mobile health users surveyed, 60 percent were considering switching their medication.

“Patients are taking adherence and treatment to a whole other level in their own hands, without going to pharma. They’re downloading health apps, they’re buying wireless scales, they’re buying Nike Fuelbands and they’re collecting that data and using that data to better improve their general health outcomes, or outcomes specific to a disease they may have,” he said. “They’re doing that without us, and we as experts on the drugs and the products we make have a great opportunity to help them even more by providing even more information tools and resources for them to use in conjunction with our medicines.”

  • Ben3000

    I wonder if the same applies to dentists prescribing apps to their patients?
    Ben
    Dentist/App developer
    http://www.brushdj.com
    @BrushDJ

  • A

    “…in their own hands…” and “to help them even more…” Means simply that the drug industry would like the patients to take the responsibility without a doctor who actually is responsible if case something happened. The patient shall be empowered but the responsibilities shall be well defined and the patient shall be exclusively informed about the risks. The number of downloads is no longer important but the risk management and number of negative outcomes is.