Pew Internet Research recently published a report that notes that for patients with two chronic illnesses, 52 percent are Internet users. Another Pew study found that 27 percent of patients over 65 years old define themselves as "e-patients". The director of the Center for Connected Health, Joseph Kvedar, points to the latest Pew Research in the first post of his new Connected Health (cHealth) Blog:
"This is consistent with our observations in rolling out connected health programs in a large integrated delivery network," Kvedar writes. "For instance, in one of our primary care practices, only 60% of diabetics we enrolled in our home glucose monitoring program were Internet users. In our CHF population, it’s even less. I always note this when talking about technology choices and program design. There are so many really exciting iPhone apps out there for example, but we haven’t tried to deploy one in our setting because the population of patients who would find it useful, let alone familiar, is tiny."
During an interview with MobiHealthNews last year, Kvedar expanded on this: "As you and I know, there are 40 million people with diabetes, how many of them have iPhones? If you really want to get diabetes taken care of you have to solve that problem. I think those are just some of the challenges that I don’t see talked about a lot. That’s sort of skunk at the picnic view. There is so much potential here and I don’t want to see it go the way of the Internet Bubble and be remembered as the Mobile Health Bubble."
Kvedar told us that the market for these types of technologies might start with the kids: "We have done research on parents of children with Type 1 diabetes. We have found a very rich market there for this type of thing. We have developed a prototype, we haven’t been able to bring it to the next level yet, where the child tests their glucose and it gets uploaded to the mobile phone and then that is automatically messaged to Mom or Dad that the child had uploaded the glucose and what it was. So they could keep track that the kids are in fact testing and that the kids are taking their insulin."