Survey: 78 percent of US interested in mHealth

By Brian Dolan
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Wireless industry association CTIA teamed up with Harris Interactive to conduct a nationwide survey that found 78 percent of the U.S. is interested in mobile health solutions and 15 percent of the U.S. is extremely or very interested in learning more about mHealth. About 19 percent of the people surveyed said that they would upgrade their current mobile phone plan to gain access to mHealth services, while some 11 percent admitted that they would even switch their wireless service provider to receive mobile healthcare services.

The two surveys that led to these findings were both conducted wholly online, however, which makes us wonder how that may skew the results -- the opinions of those without access to the Internet, perhaps in rural areas, seem to be a key group for such an undertaking.

Here are a few other metrics from the survey:

40 percent of those surveyed said they believe mobile health would supplement the medical care they receive from their doctor now

23 percent believe mobile health services might replace doctor visits altogether

51 percent believe those in rural areas would benefit most from mobile health.

48 percent said those with chronic diseases that needed monitoring would benefit most.

41 percent said that retired and or Medicare patients would benefit most from mobile health.

Interestingly, 38 percent believe caregivers would.

The physicians polled during a parallel study believed that about 25 percent of their patients would benefit from mobile health applications.

Some 80 percent of doctors and 89 percent of specialists voted to continue investment in mHealth.

Survey respondents strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that access to mobile healthcare services would result in the following benefits:

Allow for more home-based care (68%)

Make the patient feel like they are always being watched (57%)

Offer a measure of safety for patients or their family/friends (57%)

Give patients peace of mind (54%)

Make medical care easier to obtain (51%)

Give patients more freedom and choice (51%)

Here's how the survey was conducted: The research pulled data from two different studies: The first was conducted online and included 3,229 U.S. adults, 115 general practitioners and 129 specialists between September 11 and 16, 2009, while the other one included 2,334 U.S. adults and was also conducted online between September 8 and 15, 2009.