Survey: One third of docs recommended a health app to patients

By: Jonah Comstock | May 29, 2014        

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teladocaquisitionMore than a third of US physicians recommended that a patient use a health app, according to the newest addition of Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse survey, which details physician mobile and digital health adoption each year. The online survey included 3,066 practicing physicians across a variety of practices.

The research group released a smattering of data that suggested physicians’ awareness and engagement with mobile and digital tools is on the rise, and that this is motivated in some part by the trend toward outcomes-based care models. According to the survey, more than a third of doctors said they had been evaluated or rewarded based on metrics measuring cost of treatment, patient outcomes or referrals in the past year.

“There’s a perception out there that the shift in focus to population health isn’t yet on physicians’ radar,” Vice President of Research Monique Levy said in a statement. “This data shows physicians are thinking about patient outcomes and indicates an opportunity for companies that can provide them digital tools to help them meet their targets.” 

In addition to the figure that a third of doctors had recommended apps, Manhattan found that 47 percent of physicians who owned smartphones had used them to show patients videos or images. Forty percent said they had increased their use of digital tools for patient communication over the past year.

Mostly, this communication happened through secure patient portals, which nearly a quarter of physicians said they had used to communicate with patients over the past year, and secure messaging platforms, which more than 20 percent had used. Two in five physicians surveyed agreed that using digital technology for patient communication would improve outcomes for those patients.

Additionally, more than 20 percent of doctors engaged in remote patient monitoring, and those that did monitored 22 patients per month on average.

“As we move to an outcomes-based model of healthcare provision in the US, remote monitoring and telehealth are going to drive an extension of the point of care,” Director of Physician Research James Avallone said in a statement. “We’re seeing physician attitudes really align with policy.”