Patients will pay more for better designed devices

By Brian Dolan
03:53 am

Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIt follows: Health devices that are easier to use find greater acceptance among patients. Usability also impacts dosage compliance as well as health outcomes. Those are some of the findings that came out of a survey Cambridge Consultants conducted. The respondents included healthcare providers and 240 diabetes patients.

The more surprising findings? Those patients surveyed said they were mostly willing to pay more for user friendly devices. About 77 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay a slight premium for more usable health devices. Five dollars more.

The survey found that patients are making informed decision about the health devices they use, too. About 75 percent of the patients said their doctor gave them a choice of which device to use. Of that group, 28 percent said they followed their doctor's recommendation, while 21 percent said they did their own research before selecting a device.

Design and usability appear to already be on the minds of healthcare providers: Of the providers surveyed by Cambridge Consultants, every one of them said they believed the device usability impacts patient compliance.

In September 2009 the Center for Connected Health's Dr. Joseph Kvedar declared usability one of the biggest challenges facing connected health devices. Kvedar said that about 33 percent of the people the Center for Connected Health equipped with connected health devices required phone calls to set up the devices. Kvedar said the install process was as simple as installing an iPod. At the time anyway, connected health devices were simple but not simple enough. I think that still holds true.

Apps aren't much better.

“There are some great wellness and fitness apps out there... if you want an app to help you get and stay active, you’re spoiled for choice," Massive Health's Sutha Kamal wrote earlier this year. "But what if you’re actually ill? Then there’s nothing sleek or sexy to help you manage your disease. You’re back to the world of clinical health applications that aren’t especially friendly, easy to understand or use, and certainly aren’t social. Today’s apps don’t appreciate that you’re a person. That’s simply not good enough."

Whether its improved adherence, improved health outcomes, or -- now that we have the survey data to back it up -- a higher pricepoint, design and usability are crucial to mobile health's success.