Self-tracking is gaining traction, and data-driven wellness companies are thriving, but that trend is still falling short of what people with chronic conditions — the largest draw on our national healthcare resources — really need. That was the message hidden among the hype at the Health 2.0 opening sessions in Santa Clara this week, where Susannah Fox from the Pew Internet Project shared some preview data from Pew’s upcoming report on people with chronic diseases.
Fox said that while seven in 10 Americans in general self-track, eight in 10 Americans with two or more chronic conditions track their health.
“Tracking data is not a hobby for them,” she said. “They may not have a choice. They’re trying to use data as a mirror to stay well.”
Pew’s new data finds that 45 percent of US adults are living with a chronic disease, and that those adults are actually less likely to have internet access or a mobile phone than their healthier counterparts. They are more likely to track using specialized devices like glucometers and more likely to take formal notes, but less likely to use apps or spreadsheets to track.
In addition, Fox said her data shows doctors don’t encourage their patients to self-track.
“It seems like clinicians are pursuing a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” she said. “They don’t ask people if they’re tracking. They have such a short time with people: do they really want to spend it looking at spreadsheets?” Keep reading>>