Seven in ten doctors have a self-tracking patient

By Jonah Comstock
11:27 am

Microsoft HealthVault is one way patients can track health data.

Seventy percent of doctors report that at least one patient is sharing some form of health measurement data with them, according to Manhattan Research's annual "Taking the Pulse" online survey of 2,950 practicing physicians.

Self-tracking is a budding area of research for pollsters -- it was the headliner metric for the Pew Internet and American Life Project's last health-focused report in January. Pew spoke to patients, not doctors, and found that 69 percent of people said they tracked at least one health metric, although half of those people were just tracking in their heads. More to the point, Pew's research found that about a third of trackers share their data with someone else, and of those who share, about half share with a clinician. So if all the numbers are accurate, about one sixth of Americans are sharing health data with clinicians, but seven out of ten physicians have at least one patient in that group.

Another finding from Manhattan that lines up with Pew's conclusions is that digital tools are not driving the tracking trend. Pew found that only one in five trackers used digital tools, while Manhattan Research found that the most common ways of sharing data with a doctor, according to the physicians, were writing it out by hand or giving the doctor a paper printout.

"Self-tracking is already a part of the care paradigm and its prevalence is going to accelerate rapidly as digital connection, payment reform, and outcome-focused delivery make advances," James Avallone, Director of Physician Research at Manhattan Research, said in a statement. "We are seeing physician attitudes toward self-tracking aligning with policy, which is encouraging for all stakeholders involved."

Manhattan Research also asked doctors what they thought of self-tracking, a topic MobiHealthNews explored in our February podcast. The firm found that 75 percent of doctors believed that self-tracking leads to better patient outcomes.


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