Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Should Doctors Promote mHealth apps?
It is no secret that there are many apps available to help track calorie intake, the number of steps we take, exercise levels, how much we weigh... the list goes on. It has been argued that there are 2 main reasons as to why these apps aren't integrated into our healthcare system; 1) busy doctors would need to recommend them and 2) information privacy.
Despite the above, a study in America entitled "Get Mobile, Get Healthy: The Appification of Health and Fitness" has found that many people are still using mHealth apps for health/fitness reasons. Out of their sample of 1000 participants who used or planned to use mobile health apps, 45% used a health and fitness app daily, 57% had been using such apps for more than 6 months and the top 3 reasons to use the apps were to 1) to track calorie intake, 2) to monitor weight and 3) to track exercise. 30% of people liked to idea that they could track their own personal goals, 28% liked that the apps helped enhance their awareness of "health issues" and 27% found that the apps helped motivate them.
The authors reported that 40% of their participants shared their mHealth app findings with their doctor and that 70% of those doctors were interested in the findings. This poses the question; "should doctors promote mHealth apps?"
The study found that the main reasons for people stopping their use of such apps was due to forgetting, lack of time or that it's "too difficult". The authors acknowledge that it has been stated previously that people reach for their smart phones in the region of 150 times per day. The challenge still remains that 1 app will not be fit for everybody, apps need to be easy to use and need to be designed in a way that people want to use them on a regular basis.
To download the full report for free please click here.
For further information please view the mHealth news article about the study here.