Survey: 77 percent of Medicare members have used digital health tools

By Jonah Comstock
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According to a new survey of 500 Medicare plan members, 77 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have used digital health tools. Yet just nine percent of respondents indicated that their health plan integrated data from those tools.

Looking specifically at the 70 percent of beneficiaries with one or more chronic conditions, just eight percent said digital health tool data was used by their health plan. 

But according to Healthmine CEO Bryce Williams, the data is more reflective of poor communication to members than it is of slow digital adoption.

"Actual health plan data shows that more Medicare members have connected digital health tools than this data indicates," ​he said in a statement. "This survey data are the perceptions of plan members. It indicates that plans can improve communication with members, so members know that their plan is connected to digital tools."

Healthmine also asked those surveyed what sorts of tools in particular they had used. The most-used device by a wide margin was the connected blood pressure monitor, which 49 percent of respondents said they had used. Eighteen percent had used a glucometer and 17 percent had used an activity tracker. 

The other tools asked about were electronic medical records, medication adherence tracking tools, heart rate monitors, food and nutrition trackers, and sleep monitors. All of those were reportedly used by less than 10 percent of those surveyed.

Outside of Medicare, HealthMine asked the same questions in a separate 750-person survey of private plan users. They found that 83 percent had used digital health tools and 22 percent thought their health plan was integrating or utilizing that data.

Last month, HealthMine released additional data from the 500-person Medicare survey around telemedicine adoption; they found that 57 percent of seniors told HealthMine they didn’t know whether their plan offered telemedicine, 31 percent said they were sure their plan didn’t, and just 12 percent offered an unqualified affirmative.